SRINAGAR: Tariq Parray, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was killed by the army in an encounter in Tral on Thursday, had been a student of Kashmir University’s Institute for Kashmir studies (IKS), the department established by former J&K Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha to counter militancy in the Valley.
When Sinha was appointed as Governor of the state in 2003, he devised a “three-pronged strategy” to counter militancy in the Valley. Apart from a firm military approach against militants, as he writes in his autobiography ‘A Governor’s Musings’, Sinha opted for “economic development of mountain-dwelling populace of the Valley by providing it with mini hydel projects.”
The IKS was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, then President of India, on May 26, 2008. The purpose of establishing the department, Sinha says in the book, was to bring younger generation of the Valley “closer to Kashmiriyat”, the term used by him to describe the communal harmony in the Valley as it existed at the time of Partition.
Sinha mentions that laying emphasis on “Kashmiriyat” and “Sufi Islam” could help in culminating the root cause of insurgency, which he believes has been “Islamic fundamentalism.”
Tariq Parray, a resident of Laribal, Tral, in south Kashmir Pulwama district, who was killed along with two other Hizbul Mujahideen militants, had joined the IKS in 2013. He, however, dropped out of the course midway.
“He used to be in the department regularly, and was very intelligent. He appeared in the first paper of the first semester examination, but then he never returned for the second paper,” officials in the varsity told Kashmir Reader on Friday.
“Later we learned that he had joined militants,” they said.
According to one of Tariq’s childhood friend, his keen interest in Kashmir history may have drawn him towards the IKS, which was recently rechristened as the Institute of Kashmir and South Asian Studies.
“Tariq studied Arts in the college, but right from our school days he was very open in speaking about the Kashmir issue. He was very interested in learning history of Kashmir, and that is the perhaps the reason he went to the IKS,” his friend said, wishing not to be named for fear of reprisal from the police.
Tariq’s father, Ghulam Mohammad Parray, told Kashmir Reader that his son “wasn’t an illiterate fellow but someone who was doing a postgraduate course in the university. He had a strong conviction.”
“Tariq had joined mujahideen in August last year. Once police took away his laptop, which proved to be the trigger moment.”
Meanwhile, scores of students, led by banned Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU), Friday held funeral prayers-in-absentia for their former fellow Tariq and two others slain militants, Adil Ahmad Shah, of Rathsuna, and Adil Ahmad Mir (Divisional Commander).
In Tral, a complete shutdown was observed over the killing of the three militants. All shops, business establishments, educational institutions, private and government offices and petrol pumps remained closed in the area. Passenger traffic also remained off the roads.
Meanwhile, the three slain militants were buried on Friday morning amid sobs and pro-freedom slogans in their native villages. Eyewitnesses said that thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain.