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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When I’ll open my mouth, theirs will shut: Mir alias Moma Kanna

He worked for Mufti’s Govt, got Rubaiya and Wakhloos released, 5000 militants neutralized before Mehbooba made his daughter a PDP candidate in 2005

No FIRs registered at
any Police Station in J&K


MAGAM (Budgam), Feb 3: Valley’s prominent counter-insurgent and controversial nominee of this year’s prestigious Padma Sharee national award, Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Moma Kanna, today revealed that his association with the former Union Home Minister and J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, as also with his party, PDP, and daughter, Mehbooba Mufti, had remained “extraordinary” for 20 years of the Kashmir militancy till he shifted his political loyalty to National Conference (NC) in 2008. He said that he played key role in getting Mufti’s daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, two Swiss engineers, former Minister Khem Latta Wakhloo and her husband, besides many other high profile abductees, released from the clutches of militants while working for Mufti’s government, neutralizing over 5,000 militants and being directly in touch with Mufti’s Cabinet colleague, George Fernandes, all J&K Governors and senior officials of J&K Police and security forces. He also claimed that, unlike many of his ilk, there were no allegations of human rights abuse or any other criminal FIRs registered against him at any Police Station in Jammu & Kashmir.

In an exclusive interview to EARLY TIMES, Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Kanna was all praise for the NC leader and Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, besides some BJP leaders and Government of India’s Chief Information Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah, for having him recommended for Padma Shree and, more significantly, owned him as a “national hero” after media and politicians blew up a controversy over his nomination.

“I am a stanch National Conference supporter since 2008. Previously, I remained very loyal and close to Mufti Sahab, his party and daughter. I worked for Mufti’s government when he was India’s Home Minister and George Fernandes was his permanent contact with me. Later, I supported PDP in several elections. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and Mufti’s Hajj & Auqaf Minister, Sarfaraz Khan, approached me during municipal elections of 2005. They wanted my daughter Ateeqa Banoo to contest as a PDP candidate in Magam. After they motivated me, Mehboobaji fielded my daughter as a PDP candidate but she lost with a thin margin”, Kanna revealed.

Taking strong exception to what he dismissed as “Police-media-politicians nexus” against him, 57-year-old Momma Kanna asserted that he had been recommended for Padma Sharee by top leaders of different political parties and ultimately selected for the prestigious award on the basis of his “unmatched profile” by the competent authority in Government of India. “Those questioning my merit are, as usual, busy in discrediting the authority and institutions of the Government of India in Kashmir. Left to them, they would have recommended (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani Sahib or his relatives for such awards, only to buy peace for themselves and win their temporary smiles”, Kanna said and claimed that the state government’s recommendation or approval was in no way mandatory in selection of nominees for the national awards.

“People like me are privy to anti-national activities of a many political leaders and Police officers. I have recovered AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and grenades from the residences of political leaders and even Deputy Commissioners. How do you expect them to recommend me for such awards or swallow such bitter pills calmly?” Kanna asked. He claimed that all of J&K’s Ministers, legislators and officers would have to be indebted to him for “my unparalleled contribution to restoration of normality in J&K at grave risk to my life, that of my family, relatives and progeny. “All beneficiaries of today’s normalcy do know that I have lost 10 of my family members and relatives in neutralizing over 5,000 armed militants without going for a single custodial killing, kidnapping, rape or extortion”.

“Unlike other counter-insurgents, there have been no allegations of human rights abuse against me. I didn’t pick up the gun. I just gathered the information through my extensive network of social contacts, led troops to the militant hideouts and got hundreds of them arrested or surrendered”, Kanna said and claimed that not more than 20 militants had died in the operations carried out on his information---all of them in fierce encounters. Why then scores of FIRs of murder and extortion against him at different Police Stations? “I tell you with full responsibility that it’s all a Police-media-politician campaign. There’s not a single of such FIRs against me in 20 years. In one-odd incident, a pro-militant SHO, who had several of his relatives as militants, clubbed my name in a matter of beating of journalists in Magam nine years ago. FIR was initially against a DIG of BSF”, Kanna said.

According to Kanna, seven civilians and a Deputy Commandant had died in an IED blast caused by Hizbul Mujahideen militants at a BSF camp in Magam in 2001. SHO handed over the bodies to some residents and encouraged them to organize a public show against BSF with exhibition of the bodies at the main square in town. He also called mediapersons from Srinagar who were roughed up by the BSF soldiers. FIR was registered against a BSF officer and his name was included into it “at the behest of a senior J&K Police official”.

“Many officers are working well in J&K Police. But there are some who have been religiously cursing India and armed forces and glorifying terrorism. Few others have good counter-insurgent profile but men like me know how brutally some of them have killed civilians and detainee militants in custody and fake encounters to get higher ranks. Politicians are appeasing militants and Hurriyat to win their goodwill by resorting to our character assassination with baseless allegations. You’ll see when I’ll open my mouth, theirs will automatically shut”, Kanna asserted without mentioning any names.

Kanna, who had been appointed as a daily wager by then Forest Minister, Munshi Habibullah, in mid-80s, deflated the media-created impression of his being a former militant. “From day one of militancy, I worked with CRPF, BSF, ITBP, Army and J&K Police. In December 1989, I played a key role in getting Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, released from militants with the help of my contacts from Uthoora village of Baramulla district. Then I began regularly working for Mufti’s government when he was India’s Home Minister. His Ministerial colleague, George Fernandes, Governor Girsh Chander Saxena and J&K DGP, J N Saxena, and Divisional Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah approached me and motivated me to regularly work for the country”, Kanna said.

Kanna claimed that Fernandes and others of Mufti’s government remained directly in touch with him while he helped security forces in getting hundreds of militants arrested and their weapons seized. “In first militant reprisals, my brother and another brother’s son were gunned down at their home at Naulari village on March 28, 1991. Nobody lifted their bodies for three days. Police didn’t file FIR against the militants they knew’, Kanna said. He said he was never revengeful and got most of the top wanted militants, including ‘General Moosa’(in Gauripora Hyderpora) and former Hizbul Mujahideen chieShamsul Haq’s militant brother, Ali Mohammad Mir, alongwith 13 militants (in Sanoorkalipora village) arrested in “neat and clean operations”.

Militants, nevertheless, later left Kanna’s son, medical assistant Nisar Ahmed Mir, maimed in two attacks and also gunned down his young niece, Sakeena, at Higher Secondary School Magam. Those who got killed during fierce gunbattles in his operations included a number of Pakistani and Afghan militants included “ISI’s regular Colonel Masood” who died alongwith five of his colleagues at Batpora, Kanihama. “What is this Padma Shree. I derserve a Bharat Ratna”, added he.

Kanna said that very senior officials of the state and Central governments approached him and sought his help in “saving India’s honour” when militants of Muslim Janbaz Force (MJF) kidnapped two Swiss engineers of Uri Civil Hydroelectric Project on March 31, 1991. “ It took me weeks to gather specific information about their hideout. On July 5, 1991, I led a full brigade of Army and went straight into the hideout where more than 100 armed militants were present. I got both the engineers rescued with the assurance that Army would not strike on the militants. There was no other quid pro quo”, he said.

Kanna revealed how he got another militant hideout identified and rescued former Minister and senior Congress leader, Khem Latta Wakhloo, alongwith her husband, Dr O N Wakhloo, from Tangmarg on October 18, 1991. Mrs Wakhloo and her husband, former Principal of Regional Engineering College Srinagar, had been kidnapped by militants from their residence in Srinagar on September 4, 1991.


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