Advocate Babar Qadri was fatally wounded on Thursday after he was shot at by unknown terrorists at his residence in central Srinagar. He was rushed to hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
According to the eye-witness accounts, two assailants, on the pretext of consulting over a legal matter entered his house at around 6 PM in the evening and opened fire at him. The police said that the lawyer was shot at point-blank range, instantly killing him.
Babar Qadri was one of the truculent voices often seen on various Indian news channels debating issues related to Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe the killing of advocate Babar Qadri.
Presciently enough, Qadri had also posted a tweet 4 days back, alerting the Jammu and Kashmir police about a possible threat to his life.
In a tweet posted on September 21, Qadri wrote, “I urge the State Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread the wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This untrue statement can lead to a threat to my life.” He also shared a screenshot of his conversation with an individual on Facebook who accused Qadri of being “projected by the agencies”.
I urge the state Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This un true statement can lead to threat to my life.@ZPHQJammu pic.twitter.com/utkurYpRzk— Babar Qadri Truth (@BabarTruth) September 21, 2020
Babar Qadri accused J&K Bar Association President and his aides of threat on his life
Hours before Qadri was brutally assassinated by unknown assailants posing as clients, the advocate had carried out a Facebook live session, making shocking revelations about the nexus between the state’s political elites, prominent Bar executives, and separatists.
In a 30-minute long video, Qadri had accused the senior politicians and Bar Council executives of colluding with the separatists and using terrorists for their politics. He also lamented about the general attitude of Jammu and Kashmir leaders, who branded anyone who spoke against their policies as New Delhi agents and on payrolls of Indian agencies.
“During the 90s, if you spoke anything against Abdullahs, you were called as agents of Indian agencies. Whenever an intellectual tried to make a serious argument, he was silenced through assassination,” Qadri said.
Qadri also made a scathing attack on J&K High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom, alleging him of doing politics based on coercion on threats in Bar Association. It may be noted that Qadri was suspended by the bar association.
“Why do we have to take the help of agencies for our politics? Why do we have to employ hooligans to impose our narrative in Bar Association? Can we not do politics with sincerity and honesty? If asking these questions is a crime, I will continue to do it and Mr Qayoom and his henchmen can kill me for this, I won’t regret it,” Qadri said.
JK Bar Association was an extension of Hurriyat: Qadri
Qadri further laid into Mr Qayoom, alleging that the J&K Bar Association President was operated on the basis of religion by him. He also added that Qayoom had rendered Bar Association as a tool of separatist leader Geelani’s politics, effectively making it an extension of Hurriyat.
The now slain advocate raised questions over Mr Qayoom’s commitment to jihad against the Indian government, accusing him of trying to foment unrest in the Valley at the cost of lives of innocent Kashmiri children, while his own children stayed away from the protest and the conflict.
“When you accepted the dictations by the Supreme Court, When you accepted the conditions imposed by the Indian government, why the sham of giving stones in the hands of innocent Kashmiri children to wage a jihad against the government? When your own children did not join the protest, why push the children of ordinary Kashmiri to their graves?” Qadri asked.
Qadri urged fellow lawyers to vote against the current JK Bar Association representative body in the forthcoming elections
Talking about the threats he received for speaking his mind out, Qadri said that whenever he raised uncomfortable questions of Mr Qayoom, the responses from his supporters such as Shah Nazir and Manzoor Dar gives one a feeling that they intend to bump him off. He also added that he had been attacked twice for exhorting people to vote for lawyers and not for hoodlums.
Furthermore, Qadri said that Mr Qayoom and his aides intend to suppress dissenting voices that threatened to expose their duplicity. He urged his followers, friends and colleagues to not support these forces in the upcoming Bar Association elections and elect those who are independent, responsible, and honest toward the people of Kashmir.
“The bar needs a moderate but intelligent leading group. We need good speakers, good debating persons who can talk on our behalf. We need a person who can confront a judge or an official of the administration. Yes, we have been exploited enough by emotional blackmail, coercion, threats to life which was a norm that we reconciled to,” Qadri said.