New Delhi, July 19: It is not very often that an Army personnel would pen a tribute to a Kashmir pro-freedom activist. Following the death of Noor Khan, who became a terrorist in 1989, Brigadier P S Gothra penned an emotional farewell on the Army's Facebook page titled 'Noor Khan is no more and its my personal loss.'
In his post, he writes how Khan had rescued his father, also an Army officer from the clutches of fellow terrorists. Khan who passed away at the Government Medical College in Jammu was a commander for the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. He gave up terrorism after his arrest in 1990. He was booked for arms smuggling under the Public Safety Act which allows detention without trial for six months. His family claims that he was framed by the police and demanded an inquiry.
Brigadier Gothra while describing his relation with Noor Khan penned down this emotional farewell. Read it below:
𝗡𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗞𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗡𝗼 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜𝘁𝘀 𝗠𝘆 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘀
𝘈 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘣𝘺 𝘉𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘳 𝘗𝘚 𝘎𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘢
Noor Khan (Gulam Hassan Malik) joined terrorism in 1989 to become a terrorist leader.
Noor Khan expired yesterday in Jammu and on hearing the news; deep pain in my heart resembled as if I have lost somebody very close. Many may wonder why a fourth generation officer of the Indian Army is feeling bad on reading the headlines, 'Pro-freedom activist lodged in Jammu Jail passes away'.
Well due to prolonged deployment of Army in Kashmir the soldiers have developed very strong sentimental bonds with the locals. Often one keeps ringing up and keeps checking the welfare of people at the places where one has served. You seek and ask welfare of some old lady who blessed you for a long life, some young girl who forewarned you of some deadly mine laid for you, some SPO or policeman who took the bullet aimed at you on his chest and some boys who helped you in operations.
With Noor Khan it was a unique relationship.
In 1989 he had joined terrorism to become a terrorist leader. On a cold night in 1991 Noor Khan and his accomplices were surrounded by security forces. He jumped off from the first floor and got away but his leg got fractured. He could drag himself to a distance.
By midnight he was lying helpless by the side of a road, when a couple of NHPC employees on a vehicle spotted him. They took him along, gave him shelter and medical aid. In a month he was hale and hearty.
Later, in Feb 1993 my father Major GS Gothra (Retd), who was Chief Engineer of Uri Hydroelectric Project (NHPC) was kidnapped by another group of terrorists. The NHPC employees and the locals were disturbed. So, they approached Noor Khan to help securing his release.
Noor Khan through his network could trace that my father was taken to a village in Sheri Valley. A local truck driver of the Project volunteered to go with Noor Khan to that village. Noor Khan at his peril argued with those terrorists and by mid night my father was brought back safely.
A few days later my father called him to his office to offer him money for the help he rendered. But he refused to take even a single penny. The man had a lot of dignity.
As the luck would have it, I got posted to the same area in 2013. I went to his house to thank him for his good deed. I found out that he had surrendered, grown old and used to voluntarily pass information from his connections across the Line of Control.
But my relationship with him was personal. On his part also, he never asked for any help except for the medical aid for his grandchild who had burn injuries. It was always good to listen to him narrating his interactions with Army officers and leaders across the Line of Control.
He died yesterday at 70 years. I wish him eternal peace.