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Army Officer Pays Emotional Tribute to Pro Freedom Activist who Died in Jail

July 19

How rare is that an officer of the Indian Army would pay a tribute to a Kashmir pro-freedom activist but here is a rare example, following the death of Noor Khan, who joined Militancy in 1989, Brigadier P S Gothra bid an emotional farewell on the Army’s Facebook page titled ‘Noor Khan is no more and its my personal loss.’

Noor Khan, a pro Freedom activist passed away during his time in jail at Kot Bhalwal the last week at the age of 70.
The Army Brigadier in his post, mentioned how Khan had rescued his father, also an Army officer from the clutches of fellow colleagues.

Khan gave up Militancy after his arrest in 1990. He was later booked under the Public Safety Act which allows detention without trial for six months.

Brigadier Gothra while describing his relation with Noor Khan penned down this emotional farewell.

The Army official described the death as his personal treagedy and wrote, Noor Khan (Gulam Hassan Malik) joined Militancy 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.

He wrote that, 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 Militants, he wrote.

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.

Author: Salman Shah

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