Who Was Babar Qadri, The Young Lawyer Who Was Assassinated?

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SRINAGAR: The young lawyer who was shot dead at his city home in Srinagar on Thursday was a debator and a very vocal panellist, his friends and the TV watchers said.

Babar Qadri, the Kashmiri lawyer who was killed in Hawal on September 24, 2020, in Srinagar. Pic: Facebook

“He was calling spade a spade and that is what he was,” one of his friends, who spoke literally crying over the phone said. “He paid the price for that.”

Reports said that the young lawyer had reached home and was busy in changing his clothes when somebody informed him that two persons have come to seek his advice on some legal issue. He came out to see the two persons who were carrying a file as well. “He was on the staircase and the two persons were in his courtyard,” one friend, quoting the family sources said. “One of them opened fire on him and he tried to get in and then the second bullet was fired.” Since the bullets were fired from very close range, he collapsed on the spot. He was driven to SKIMS where he was declared brought dead. The attack was reported at around 6 pm. Police said they have registered a case and started the investigations.

People offering funeral prayers (Nimaz-e-Jinaza) to Babar Qadri, the young lawyer who was assassinated by unknown gunmen on September 24, 2020, at Srinagar. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Babar was of the three sons of Syed Mohammad Yasin Qadri who had migrated to Srinagar in 1992 at the peak of militancy from Sheikhpora Tarhama, a Tangmarg village. Qadri was affiliated with Jamat-e-Islami. They constructed a house in Hawal where they were living. While one of his brothers is staying outside, his other brother, Zaffar is also a lawyer.

Babar was married to the daughter of Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani of Bandipore who was assassinated in mysterious circumstances earlier. He is survived by his wife, a homemaker, and two daughters, the eldest is of around eight years. Writing on Facebook, journalist Muzamil Jaleel drew a parallel between the kids of Dr Wani and his daughter. “When I looked at the picture of those two little girls whose father was brutally taken away, I remembered their grandfather. Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani was an exceptional man, a great leader. He too was taken away in similar circumstances,” Muzamil wrote. “The mother of these two little girls must have been little older than them when her father was silenced forever. I remember visiting Dr Wani’s home in Arin village in Bandipore next day”

The family drove Babar’s body to their Sheikhpora Tangmarg home for funeral and burial. He was laid to rest at around 11 pm at the family’s ancestral graveyard.

Open-source information on the internet suggests that some suspicious people had come to his Hawal residence in July 2018. They wanted Babar but they found his brother Zafar in the car. The incident led to a police case, the outcome of which is not known. That incident took place within days after his name appeared on a blog that police believes was operated from outside India.

While studying at the University of Kashmir – he was a law graduate by 2018; he was active in student politics. With some friends, he had set up a Lawyers Club that would appear in the cases of people arrested for security reasons including stone pelters. He had visited Pakistan earlier too.

For the last few years, Qadri has been of the Arnob Goswami sho. Once he was asked by the anchor to leave the show as he shouted some slogan.

However, what is interesting is that Qadri would never spear anybody from the political class. He was a known critic of the separatists and would name them. He used his social media to oppose the making of the BJPDP alliance as well.

Three days back, Qadri had tweeted a screenshot and urged the police in to register an FIR against a Facebook user for spreading the “wrong campaign” against him. Barely eight hours before he was killed at his Hawal, he had gone live on his Facebook page and talked about receiving “derogatory and intimidating” messages. The entire talk was about his “differences” with the Kashmir Bar Association. In the almost half an hour video, he mentions two failed attacks on him in the past. His membership of the Bar was under suspension.

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