Abdul Khaliq Ansari
Prominent Kashmiri nationalist leader and founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front, Abdul Khaliq Ansari Advocate, died on June 16, after battling with prolonged illness. He was 87.
After his early education at Mirpur, he joined Prince of Wales College, Jammu, in 1943 from where he graduated in 1947.
He joined Kashmir’s freedom struggle at the age of 16. In Jammu, he was actively associated with the National Conference and participated in the “Roti Agitation” against the government’s failure to provide food-grains to the citizens.
Ansari was a fiery orator and debater during his college days. He along with his class fellows, Ved Bhasin and Balraj Puri founded the Jammu Students Union with Ansari as president and Ved Bhasin as general secretary. The students’ union was closely associated with the National Conference and participated in the Quit Kashmir movement.
He was jailed by the Pakistan and PaK authorities over a dozen times and spent several years in jails during his struggle for independence, against the curbs on people’s civil liberties and for the cause of Mirpur.
Ansari along with Om Mehta, minister of state for home in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet, went on hunger strike once for several days to protest against the setting up of separate kitchens for Muslims and non-Muslims in the hostel of Prince of Wales College. The authorities relented by reverting back to the common kitchen for all the students.
Ansari was in his home town of Mirpur when partition took place. After qualifying for law, he started his legal practice as advocate at Pakistan High Court and Supreme Court. He was the founder President of the Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front (Mahaz-e-Rai Shumari) and struggled for the independence of united Jammu and Kashmir. He was a staunch supporter of peaceful and non-violent struggle and opposed gun culture.
Due to his old age and ill-health he shifted to the USA for a couple of years and stayed in New York where his sons were working but returned to Mirpur three years ago. He suffered from a paralytic stroke and was convalescing for the past three years. His illness did not deter him from struggling for the causes dear to him.
Abdur Rasheed Wani
Noted media person and former Joint Director State Information department, Abdur Rasheed Wani aka Rasheed Shahid breathed his last at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences last week after battling a brief spell of illness. He was 73 and is survived by wife, four daughters and two sons.
Born on August 1940 in Khanpora Baramulla, Shahid was known for his professional competence and acumen for which he was widely respected.
He started his career with a private job and finally landed in the Public Works Department as a camp clerk in 1957. Later on, he did graduation in English in 1968.
In 1969, he got selected in an all-India level competition for Diploma in Journalism in Bhartiya Vidhiya Bhavan Delhi. He outshined all his class fellows and qualified the examination. He earned two prestigious gold medals viz. Times of India Gold Medal and Hindustan Times Gold Medal and a cash prize of Rs 300.
Soon he started writing for many famed newspapers of that time like Statesman, The Times of India and contributed in some Bombay based magazines. However, he had to return to valley for some family compulsions.
On his return he was appointed as an Assistant Information Officer in 1970. He worked as PRO to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for six years up to 1994. After working in different capacities, Shahid rose to the position of Joint Director and retired in 1998.
After retirement, Shahid took over the role of Executive Editor of english daily Greater Kashmir and Editor Kashmir Observer one after the other.
He was the main force behind Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in state, which ultimately led to the creation of a voluntary group Help Foundation. Under the banner, he helped lot of destitute sections of society. He also acted as a practical guide to a whole lot of young and practicing journalists.