The man who wrote Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s debut speech when he succeeded his assassinated father, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq on May 22, 1990, at a tender age of 14, says Indian Intelligence Bureau had pressurized him to withdraw his statement which he had made during an interview to BBC radio. Talking to Rising Kahsmir, Muhammad Yaqoob Vakil, the longtime aide of the late Mirwaiz said that a day after his interview, in which he had said that the assailants appeared non locals and spoke broken English; he was summoned to Raj Bhawan (The Governor’s house). “There were some Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials who offered me a bribe of Rs 50 lakh and insisted that I withdrew my statement. But I declined and stuck to what I had said.”
Vakil has recently left Awami Action Committee and floated his own party, which espouses the cause of Shere-e-Khas (The privileged City). Vakil fondly recalls how he hurriedly inscribed on a dusty Cigarette wrap the first speech Mirwaiz Umar delivered, when he was anointed as the successor of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq who had been slain by unknown gunmen on May 21, 1991.
“Lot of things had happened. The CRPF had killed scores of people when the cops fired upon the funeral procession. The working committee had nominated the Imam of Jamia Masjid, Imam-e-Hai, as the pro tem chief of the party.”
But, Vakil further recalls, sensing that the party would be in a state of chaos, the working committee decided that the 14-year-old son of the slain leader should be declared his successor. “It was done before the Mirwaiz would be laid to rest in the martyrs’ graveyard at Eidgah. There was a sea of people. Mirwaiz was too young to face such a charged crowed. I gave him some tips to retain the confidence. There were two problems. Umar Sahib was lean and there was no suitable attire, but somehow the traditional Mirwaiz robe was tailored to make him appear fit for his new role. Since he was in a state of shock, Mirwaiz Umar asked me to suggest some point for his speech. I grabbed a dusty cigarette and wrote some rhetorical lines, which Umar sahib read out amid thunderous applauds.”
Vakil also remembers how he managed to keep together the party workers during a barrage of bullets the CRPF personnel showered on the funeral procession in the old city. “The state wanted to organize an official funeral, which we did not allow. We defied and organized the same at the party level. As the procession was marching toward the Mirwaiz Manzil I saw a bullet piercing a woman’s chest, she collapsed instantly. My friend Mohammad Sultan, who despite curfew in the city, had earlier helped me in reaching the SKIMS where Maulvi Sahib had been rushed after the assault, was badly wounded and writhing in pain.”-SANA