Indian Army Brigadier in a rare statement lauds Occupied Kashmir Commander

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Indian Army Brigadier in a rare statement lauds Occupied Kashmir Commander

NEW DELHI - A serving Army brigadier has written a tribute to former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) commander Ghulam Hassan Malik alias Noor Khan -- who died in the Jammu Jail while serving detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) -- for his help in securing the release of his father Major GS Gothra (Retd), who was the then Chief Engineer of Uri Hydroelectric Project of National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC), from the clutches of terrorists in 1993.

A resident of Uri, Noor Khan, 70, was arrested in January and shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu. He, however, fell ill while in jail and was shifted to a hospital where he passed away on Tuesday. Khan was buried in his ancestral graveyard on Wednesday

Brigadier PS Gothra, who is posted outside J&K, wrote a tribute on the Facebook page of the Army, saying that Khan's death, pained his heart, as though he had lost somebody very close.

"Many may wonder why a fourth generation officer of the Indian Army is feeling bad on reading the headlines, 'Pro-freedom activist lodged in Jammu Jail passes away'," he wrote.

Elaborating, Brigadier Gothra said his father was abducted by terrorists in February 1993 and NHPC employees and the locals were disturbed.

"So, they approached Noor Khan to help secure his release. Noor Khan, through his network could trace my father 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 midnight my father was brought back safely," the post read.

Brigadier Gothra further wrote that a few days later, his father called Khan to his office to offer him money for his help. "But he refused to take even a single penny. The man had a lot of dignity," he wrote.

As luck would have it, Brigadier Gothra was 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 was voluntarily passing information from his connections across the Line of Control," he said.

Brigadier Gothra said his relationship with Khan was personal. "On his part also, he never asked for any help except for the medical aid for his grandchild who suffered burn injuries. It was always good to listen to him narrate his interactions with Army officers and leaders across the Line of Control," he wrote.

In fact Noor Khan's life was saved by NHPC employees when he was injured while trying to flee. It had cast a deep impact on the mind and soul of Khan, who had joined terrorist ranks in 1989.

"On a cold night in 1991, Noor Khan and his accomplices were surrounded by security forces. He jumped from the first floor and got away but his leg was 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 in a vehicle spotted him. They took him along, gave him shelter and medical aid. In a month he was hale and hearty", he wrote.

Later Brigadier Gothra told DNA that ideologies may differ but he and Khan were good friends. "We used to talk to each other. Though he was much older in age, he would sometimes advise on doing or not doing particular things. He used to give me fatherly advice," he said.

Lekh Ram, who was the personal assistant of Major GS Gothra (Retd), told DNA that Khan played a key role in securing the release of the chief engineer.

"We did not know Noor Khan. He said 'do not worry and we will bring him back'. Later in the evening, Sir (Major Gothra) was back", he said

Irshad Malik, the eldest son of Khan, said his father was framed and a high-level inquiry should be held into his death. "How can an old man carry a grenade? He was unwell and had hypertension. Still they shifted him to jail. We want a high-level inquiry into his death", he said.