Ghulam Nabi Hagroo – II

Unlike some of his colleagues, Ghulam Nabi Hagroo did not change his stand after the Indira-Abdullah Accord of 1975 and the subsequent decline of the plebiscite movement.

In 1976, he publicly told Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beg to forget about power politics as it was “nothing more than commerce in human skulls.”

During the conversation referred to in the first part of this account, Hagroo said: “Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was a great crowd-puller, but had myopic vision.  When he left for Hajj in the mid-sixties, we told him not to return, and to form a government in exile and declare Kashmir’s independence. But, he could not come out of Nehru’s influence. He came back and was arrested.”

As Maqbool Bhat’s Friend: Ghulam Nabi Hagroo was a close friend of Muhammad Maqboo Bhat who, according to him, had been appointed a teacher at a Jama’at-e-Islami school in Aarwani, Bijbehara.

 “He would come to my place on Saturdays and we would discuss various matters.”

When Maqbool Bhat was arrested on returning from Pakistan, Hagroo too was taken into custody and subjected to interrogation. On being released, he defended Maqbool’s case in court.

It was Hagroo who informed people about Maqbool Bhat’s secret meetings with Dr Farooq Abdullah and Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad.

“Maqbool approached them with his vision document. He convinced them, rather persuaded them, to help him achieve the goal of freedom. Bakhshi even signed the document with his blood.”

A tireless human rights activist, Hagroo visited Vienna (Austria) in 1993 to highlight their violation in Kashmir. He also went to Switzerland, England, America, Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to apprise the world of Kashmir’s pain.

His constructive thinking and commitment to social reform made him a vigorous campaigner against evils creeping into society. Even when gravely ill, he would visit areas facing natural calamities and human rights violations.

Ghulam Nabi Hagroo passed away on January 5, 2007. He was 74, and had been suffering from cancer.

Thousands of people joined his funeral when he was laid to rest in Srinagar.