Yes, ‘our own men’ killed separatists: Sajjad Lone

Separatist leader Sajjad Lone threw his weight behind ex-Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 00:13 AM IST

New Delhi: Separatist leader Sajjad Lone
threw his weight behind ex-Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat
for his stand that "our own men" killed Mirwaiz Farooq and
Abdul Gani Lone, observing that time has come for people to
decide whether they are with the "murderers or murdered".

Sajjad, son of Lone, appreciated Bhat for speaking
the truth on the killings of the two separatist leaders and
for showing the way and said it was never late to speak the
"truth".

Bhat, who once chaired the separatist amalgam
All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, recently created a flutter by
saying that two separatist leaders and his own brother were
killed by "our own people" and not the security forces.

Bhat had said time had come to speak the truth about the
killers of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, who was killed 21 years
ago, Abdul Gani Lone, who was shot dead in 2002, and his own
brother Mohammad Sultan Bhat, who was murdered in 1995.

In a first person account published in a local daily at
Srinagar, Lone recalled the events of the day when his father
was killed on May 21, 2002. "...and lifted the shroud and
there he was -- my dad -- lifeless, stone cold, eyes closed, hair
curled back, in a state of eternal slumber. My Dad’s journey
of life had ended."

"I got up filled with anger and began to shout
hysterically and out came from my mouth the infamous statement
blaming the ISI for my father’s killing. I was unmindful of
the TV crews and their cameras. And in the evening it was all
across the TV screens," wrote Lone in his first person account
published in Greater Kashmir.

He recalled that in the wee hours of May 22, 2002 when
he was planning the funeral his mother called him inside a
room. "I found her behaviour strange. Her composure saddened
me. I felt she was not distraught enough....she held my hands
and looked deep into my eyes and (asked me to) retract the
statement I made last night."

Lone recalls that he had refused buckling under pressure
and made it clear to his mother that he was not going to
retract. "...she sobbed and sobbed (and said) I have lost Lone
sahib. I will not lose you. I will not allow a second dead
body with bullets in this house," he wrote while reasoning out
about his retraction of statement.

"I had lost a father not to disease or old age but to
bullets of the brute. In retrospect I don’t think I should
have accused an institution of the killing. But Prof Bhat has
shown the way, when he stated that it was our own people who
killed Lone Sahib.

"For all those cynics and sermonizers who are
questioning his timing, his intentions, I - a son who lost his
father to bullets - would want to put my appreciation on
record. Truth however bitter has to prevail. It is never late
to speak the truth," he wrote.

"Lone Sahib, Mirwaiz Sahib have left this world. We
cannot get them back. But if we do not learn any lessons from
their killings we will be doing a great disservice to the very
nation whose aspirations we claim to espouse. There is nothing
like a good murderer and a bad murderer...

"The culture of unaccountability, impunity cultivated
and nourished by a select group of intellectuals, thinkers has
only emboldened the killers to indulge in more heinous acts,
aimed at disempowering the Kashmiri voice and coercing it into
submission. It is time that the select band, decide whose side
they are on - the murderer or the murdered," he said.

PTI