Mohammad Yousuf Rather known to Kashmir newspapers as Yousuf Nadeem was killed by an unidentified gunman last week. An employee with the Power Development Department, Nadeem was on his way from Beerwah, his place of posting, to his home Sundipora, located on the Beerwah-Budgam road. Somewhere in between a young man boarded the same service Tavera in which he was travelling and at Charangam, he was shot dead. Though initially, the other passengers fled, somehow, Nadeem was driven to Beerwah where he was declared ‘brought dead’ by doctors.
People who know the slain said he was a member of Hizb ul Mumineen militant outfit for which he had crossed the LoC and trained as a militant. Back home, he was arrested as an active militant. Once he was released, he set up Tahreek-e-Wehdat, a political outfit that had joined the Hurriyat (g) in wake of the vertical split of the Hurriyat Conference.
After being laid to rest the same night, when the mourners started visiting the family for condolences, his son Yasir told reporters that Nadeem, his father was a militant for five years till 1995. Later he was arrested and spent three years in jail. The government reinstated him. Though he would routinely be on duty, he was arrested during 2016 unrest as well for almost a year. Even in 2008, 2009 and for some time in 2010, he was jailed. According to Yasir, his Tehreek-e-Wehdat was an offshoot of Hizb-ul-Mumineen.
Police said they have registered FIR No 22/2018 under Section 302 ROC and 7/27 Arms Act and investigations have begun. In Srinagar, however, a police officer had a newspaper clipping of February 4, 2018, in which a Tehreek-e-Wehdat spokesman was quoted saying that one of their members Showkat abu Zar was in custody of “some agencies” in Pakistan for many days. “We believe the arrest is the outcome of tensions within the party and for personal reasons,” the statement said. “The leaders of the party can sit and settle it but it does not require keeping people in detention.” The officer hinted that they are investigating this angle as well. Yasir had told a reporter that some politician or a bureaucrat was behind his father’s murder but did not give any more detail.
The entire separatist camp condemned the assassination. They actually sponsored a day-long strike on February 17, against the murder as well. Individuals knowing Nadeem said he was extremely gentle and rarely talked. Kashmir Bar Association has sought an investigation into the killing. “The killing of Hurriyat leader Muhammad Yousuf Nadeem raised many questions,” a JRL statement said. “It has been an old ploy of agencies to terrorize freedom fighters by these kinds of gruesome killings done under the cover of ‘unknown’ person and it is imperative on United Jehad Council (UJC) to probe Nadeem Sahib’s killing on their level to stop these kinds of acts in future.”
Nadeem, those who know him, said was a strong crusader for Shia Sunni unity. Every time there were tensions on sectarian lines, Nadeem would be on the forefront to salvage the situation. He is survived by a widow, three sons, and two daughters. His only one daughter is settled.