Since at least early 1994 Indian security forces have armed and trained local auxiliary forces made up of surrendered or captured militants to assist in counterinsurgency operations. These forces, who wear no uniforms and operate outside of the normal command structure of the Indian army and other security forces, nevertheless are considered state agents under international law. These groups participate in joint patrols, receive and carry out orders given by security officers, and operate in full view of army and security force bunkers and camps. Some members of these groups are even housed in military compounds. They are generally referred to as “renegades” or “ikhwaen” or “nawbid”.
The government has also forcibly recruited some paramilitary group members by detaining members of their families as hostages until the former militants agree to work with the security forces. The security forces have also recruited former militants who were themselves detained and tortured by the security forces.
According to a report in India Today, the government’s policy of using surrendered militants for counterinsurgency efforts had heightened the enmity between the various security agencies operating in Kashmir -mainly the Border Security Force (BSF) and the army-with each trying to score a point by notching up a higher tally of surrendered militants. Militants who had surrendered to the army were beaten by BSF forces for not surrendering to them and vice versa. They even forced some of them to obtain new weapons so that they could surrender again.
Here are seven Renegades you must know:
1: Mohammad Yusuf aka Kukka Parray
A folk singer-turned militant who later turned into a renegade, he began to cooperate with the Army to carry out their ‘dirty work’. Soon afterwards, many such militants followed the suit & started to switch sides. Prominent among them were the former National Conference MLC, Javed Ahmed Shah & Liaqat Khan who operated in the southern Kashmir town of Anantnag. By the end of 1994, all three of them and their men had coalesced into the feared Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen. Kuka Parray was killed in an ambush by militants along with two of his close associates at his hometown Hajjan in northwestern Baramulla district on September 13, 2003.
2: Ghulam Mohammad Lone aka Papa Kishtwari
Ghulam Muhammad Lone alias Papa Kishtwari worked as a watchman in a factory in Pampore before becoming a government gunman and going on killing spree. Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen’s supreme commander, Papa Kishtwari is responsible for deaths of hundreds of Kashmiris, it is believed he killed atleast 150 civilians in his hometown (Pampore) alone. It had become necessary for people to seek Papa’s permission before celebrating any religious festival after dark. Late night marriages were out of question and unheard of in Pampore during his reign. Papa Kishtwari is currently in Central Jail, Srinagar.
3: Fayaz Nawabadi
Fayaz Nawabadi, a government renegade and Kukka parray’s right hand, was known to have personally killed more than a hundred Kashmiris who may have been militants, or their distant relatives. Whatever Fayaz wanted he got, apart from Nazima, the most beautiful girl in the village. When she turned him down, he had her abducted and raped until she became pregnant. To prove his power, he then went after her sister too. The distraught family contacted the police. The cops took the details, and then rang Fayaz, who charged into the village market. There he produced the eight-months pregnant Nazima, stripped her and shot her repeatedly in the belly before a large crowd, shouting, “We are in charge, and no one can touch us. This is what you get when you mess with us.” Nazima with her unborn child died. Her sister is still with the renegades.
Once his eyes fell on a new scooter parked in the Safapora market. The scooter belonged to Waseem, a 21 year old. Waseem refused to let go of his new scooter when the Nawabadis asked him to give it to them. Fayaz then walked up to him, and held him by his throat. He then pumped bullets into him. Waseem fell to ground. When a shopkeeper raised his voice, he too met the same fate. One more onlooker was also shot dead. With three dead bodies on the streets Fayaz issued his threat, “People of Safapora, whosever goes against us will meet a similar fate”.
Fayaz after surviving 18 attempts on life finally met his fate on Feb 17, 2000. He was blown up in an IED blast in Sumbal, just a few kilometres away from where he had shot Nazima. According to locals the intensity of the blast was such that his body parts could be seen hanging from the power supply wires.
4: Ghulam Mohammad Mir aka Momma Kanna
Momma Kanna was a junior employee in the Forest Department earning a meagre Rs 300 a month before turning to indian army. His name was synonymous with extortion, rape, torture and extra-judicial killings across the Valley in the 90s. He has brushed shoulders with several prominent politicians, government officials and army and police top brass. Now bedridden, plagued with ailments and waiting for the inevitable death. He admits a direct hand in neutralising over 5000 militants. His Magam residence is guarded by a company (100 personnel) of the paramilitary CRPF.
5: Rashid Khan Ikhwani
In 1994, the surrendered insurgent was chosen as the Group Commander of the counter-insurgency Ikhwan unit in Kupwara. There are nine cases of murder registered against him, of civilians, but he has never been called to court. During the 90s, Rashid Khan was working closely with the army. He murdered many more civilians of whom there is no record. Rashid Khan was also making money from extortion. People say he developed a “habit” of it. He lives a secure, respectable life in Kupwara and runs a successful business as a construction contractor.
6: Rashid Parry aka Rashid Billa
During the elections Ikhwanis would force people to come out and vote at gunpoint; they would man the election booths and mark the ballots of persons as they wished to. Due to vigorous campaigning by NC workers including Ghulam Qadir Dar, Saif-ud-din Dar, Ghulam Rasool Dar and Ghulam Nabi Dar, Kuka Parray received only 11 votes out of the total 3500 votes cast in Hajan. The election result was declared on the 4 October 1996 and on the next day Ikhwanis led by Rashid Billa attacked the family of Ghulam Qadir Dar and three other NC workers in their own homes, seven members of three families were killed, FIR no. 125/1996 has led to no arrests and no chargesheet has been filed to this day.
Yusuf, a young boy held on the orders of Rashid Billa, for tearing Kukka Parray’s election posters was tortured in the army camp of Chak Hajin for two days as his father and brother helplessly heard his painful cries, anxiously waiting outside for his release; following which he was blown to pieces by a mine.
Rashid Billa was shot dead yesterday (16-04-17) by unidentified gunmen.
7: Usman Majeed
Usman Majeed, an MLA from north Kashmir’s Bandipora constituency was accused of kidnapping and killing innocents during the reign of Kuka Parray-led Ikhwan. He has himself boasted about killing at least 400 Kashmiris. Abdul Khaliq Wani, a resident of Madwan, Hajin in Bandipora district, who was associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami, was shot dead on June 6, 1993. His family members who witnessed the killing say Majeed was behind it. Usman Majeed continues to enjoy the protection of the State and escape prosecution.
Written for Lost Kashmiri History