SRINAGAR: "I found that he had surrendered, grown old and used to pass information from his connections across the LoC. 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."
In a rare case, a serving Army officer has penned a tribute to a former Kashmiri militant commander and separatist activist Noor Khan, who died on Tuesday while serving a sentence in Jammu’s Kotbalwal jail.
In a Facebook post, Brigadier PS Gothra paid tributes to 70-year-old Ghulam Hassan Malik alias Noor Khan.
Titling the post "Noor Khan is no more and it’s my personal loss", Brig Gothra wrote, "After hearing about Noor Khan's death, I felt as if I have lost somebody very close."
Defending his tribute he wrote, "Due to prolonged deployment in Kashmir, soldiers have developed strong bonds with locals. Often one keeps ringing up to check on people… You ask for welfare of some old lady who blessed you, a young girl who forewarned you about a deadly mine, some SPO or policeman who took the bullet aimed at you and some boys who helped you in operations."
Explaining his ties with Khan, he said that in one night in 1991, Khan was surrounded by security forces and jumped from the first floor to escape. He fractured his leg and was found by some NHPC employees who gave him medical aid.
Later Khan became commander of JKLF's student wing JKSLF.
In 1993, Brig Gothra's father Major (Retd) G S Gothra, who was then serving as Chief Engineer of Uri Hydroelectric Project was kidnapped by militants and NHPC employees approached Khan for his release.
Khan found that he was in Sheeri Valley and brought him back after arguing with the militants.
Later, his father offered Khan money for securing his release. "But he refused to take even a single penny. The man had a lot of dignity."
When Brig Gothra got posted to the same area in 2013 he went to Khan’s house to thank him.