KASHMIR’S UNSUNG HEROES: Advocate Abdul Qadir Sailani – II

Advocate Abdul Qadir Sailani fell to assassins’ bullets at Soura on October 17, 1995. Though much has been said and written about his martyrdom, the question haunting me since is why he was in Soura on that day.

As far as I know, he preferred to meet his clients either at his chamber on the Hari Singh High Street or in the court premises.  He would even advise me against going to clients. “Let them come to you,” he would say.  I can, therefore, say with authority that he was not in Soura that day to meet a client.

Again, according to people close to Sailani and his family, he had not been suffering from any health problem, and therefore could not have been in Soura for a medical check-up at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences located there.

A police handout on October 18, 1995 read: “On October 17, militants fired at Shri Ghulam Qadir Advocate resident of Buchwara Dalgate near bus stand Soura  causing critical injuries to him as well as a mini bus driver, Farooq Ahmad r/o Sekidafer. Both the individuals were shifted to hospital where Shri Ghulam Qadir succumbed to his injuries.”

This is totally out of the question. Sailani was widely respected in pro-freedom circles. He used to plead the cases of militants. Why would they kill him?  Further, no militant organization owned the killing. There have been occasions when militants have apologised for ‘wrongful’ killings. No such apology was made. Moreover, on a call by pro-freedom parties, the Valley observed a total shutdown on October 21 against the lawyer’s killing.

The First Information Report (FIR) filed in the Soura police station also rejects this version. The FIR (146 of 1995) says:  “Some unidentified gunmen on some personal rivalry fired a number of bullets with an illegal weapon, at Farooq Ahmad Bhat s/o Ghulam Muhammad Bhat r/o Sekidafar, Safakadal, the driver of bus No 7451/JKE and one Ghulam Qadir Advocate, with the aim to kill them. Both of them were critically injured on the spot. The passersby took them to (the) institute of medical sciences for treatment where Ghulam Qadir Advocate succumbed to his injuries.”

Yet another police statement said that “Sailani Advocate was killed in cross fire between the militants and the forces.”

Such conflicting versions by the police suggest that authorities were trying to conceal material facts about Sailani’s killing.

-to be continued