Aijaz Ahmad Ganaie
Government School Teacher
Geelani Sahab got my whole family killed. What was their fault?
My Brother Mumtaz Ahmad Ganaie went to Pakistan in February 1994 to get arms training. After some months, he came back with an AK-47 and joined Hizbul Mujahideen. Our Abba was a school teacher. We were three brothers and a sister. Mumtaz was our elder brother. Somehow he got connected to then SP Kupwara Abdul Qayoom Manhaas and decided to surrender to the forces.
A few nights before his surrender, I met him. He told me: The path we have chosen is totally wrong. We are cheating on people in the name of Kashmir’s freedom. People don’t know what Pakistan does with Kashmiris. Pakistan is only interested in engaging India. They have nothing with us Kashmiris which can be regarded as sympathy. I am getting regular instructions from higher ups to kill innocent people, like those who are in JK Police, and people who don’t like the ideology of Jamaat e Islami. I’m getting instructions to kill people who are affiliated with National Conference. I don’t like to do this, but I feel that the tanzeem may kill me if I don’t adhere to what they say. Please ask Abba Jaan about my plan to surrender. Please tell him that either I shall have to follow the instructions to kill people, or I should surrender.
I assured Mumtaz that I will discuss the matter with Abba Jaan.
After I revealed this entire conversation to Abba, he could not sleep for many nights. He was so disturbed that he did not go for duty for some days. After a few days he called me. He told me that Mumtaz could take whatever decision he wanted to take. My father said: When he went to Pakistan, he did not ask me regarding the decision. Who am I to thrust my decision upon him? But if at any stage he is forced to kill any innocent person, he should prefer to die himself. I met my brother at Sogam one day in the forest. I told him about the conversation with my father. Mumtaz decided to surrender before the security forces.
After about 20 days, we came to know that Mumtaz had surrendered his arms and ammunition before SP Kupwara. All our family members were very happy that Mumtaz is safe now. At least he will not be killed by security forces. My brother helped SP Kupwara Abdul Qayoom Manhas to minimize militancy in the area.
Though his friends in the terrorist network, Mumtaz came to know that Pakistan was planning his assassination.
Mumtaz’s friends told him that plans were being formulated in Pakistan to teach a lesson to him and to all those who shared his thinking.
Brutal Killing Of A Family
One evening after Magrib Namaz, 12 to 15 armed men entered our house. They were looking for Mumtaz. I received them at the door. I told them that Bhaie Jaan is not at home. They pushed me inside and started searching for Mumtaz in all the rooms. After about 10 minutes, they received a call on their radio set from their commander, asking about Operation Mumtaz . The terrorist who was operating the radio set told him that Mumtaz is not at his residence.
The commander told his terrorist to wait for his order. I asked the militants if they wanted to take tea. One of them told me to bring a glass of water. I went to the kitchen. I saw Mumtaz in the kitchen, trying to jump to the back of the house to flee. This kitchen was on the second storey of the house and it was difficult to flee. But we both caught hands, jumped to the back side and ran away.
We had thought that the terrorists would leave now, because they were looking for Mumtaz. Soon we heard gun shots.
In the morning, we came to know what had happened. My father Master Abdul Ahad Ganaie, 51; mother Mukhti, 45; Grandfather Abdul Gani Ganaie; grandmother; pregnant Bhabi Mehbooba, wife of Mumtaz Bhaie; younger brother Zahoor Ahmad, a student of 12th class – all of them were killed by the terrorists.
We lost everything in this conflict.
Now only Mumtaz and I were left. We returned in the morning to bury the members of our family. It seemed that we were burying our everything with them. All our happiness, our smiles got buried too. Kal chaman thaa aj ek sehra hova.
My brother Mumtaz left all thoughts of violence. We tried to get on with life. It seemed surreal, because now we had no one. Mumtaz was a brave man. He told me, I have to live for you. He often cried that because of me, the whole family has been sacrificed. Mumtaz loved me very much. He remained with me all the time so that I would not think about our family. I was heartbroken. I used to stay in Qabristaan the whole time to watch the graves of my family, especially my younger brother Zahoor.
Then Mumtaz Too Was Killed
One night Mumtaz and I were having dinner. Mumtaz had cooked chicken. We were in the middle of the dinner when the light went off. Mumtaz thought there was some wiring issue and he would correct it. We did not know that it was a plan hatched by the terrorists to kill Mumtaz. As he stepped out, the terrorists began firing on him and killed him on the spot.
Startled by the gunshots, I went out and saw Mumtaz lying dead. I seemed to be living through a horror movie. I have lost everything to this conflict called jihad.
I want to ask the people who are engaged in this: Is this the teaching of Islam and the Quran? No, never! It is terrorism.
After the terrorists killed Mumtaz, I cried before them to kill me also, so that I would not have to live this life.
I have attempted suicide many times but my relatives don’t allow me to die. I am working as a school teacher but my life is a punishment.
The meeting with Syed Ali Geelani
After some months, I went to Syed Ali Geelani to ask why my whole family was killed for the fault of one family member. I reached Hyderpora and asked someone there that I want to meet Geelani Sahab. I was told that he is called Peer Sahab.
The man told me to wait. I waited outside and was served a cup of kahva. After some time the man came out and told me to wait, as some guests were inside with Peer Sahab. They gave me some books to read.
I remember the name of a book. Maqtal Se Vapsi. I stared at the title. It seemed bizarre.
I read this book till I got permission to meet the man who had got my whole family killed. Jamaat e Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen were his organizations. The killings by the terrorists happened on his orders.
A man told me to go in. I entered and could not stop my tears. Crying brokenly, I asked him what sin my family had committed. His response still rings in my ears.
“Acha Master Ahad sob kalroosuk ..tashund necho Mumtaz oos wacha bade khaab. Acha aap Master Ahad Sahab ki baat kar rahe ho. Us ka beta Mumtaz bade khavab dekhne lagha tha,” Geelani told me.
I was still crying. I asked him, “What should I do now Peer Sahab.”
Geelani Sahab told me, “Go back. No body will harm you now. I will tell them. But don’t go everywhere to reveal like this. Stay at your home. Then he told the man who was there to assist the guests: Send a letter to Fazli Sahab (A Hizbul Mujahideen commander) and tell him not to kill this boy. All this happened in front of me. I got several lessons in this meeting watching Peer Sahab Syed Ali Geelani.
I saw with my own eyes that Hizbul Mujahideen works on his command. Geelani Sahab got my whole family killed. I was watching the man who had destroyed my family and my life.
Geelani Sahab gave me Rs 1000 when I left his house in Hyderpora. Could the loss of my father, mother, grandfather, sister, bhabhi and younger brother be compensated by any amount of money? Geelani Sahab, what was the fault of all those poor Kashmiris who have been killed at your command?