Jammu and Kashmir residents were shocked as news came in of an attack on advocate and activist Babar Qadri at his Hawal residence on Thursday evening. Advocate Qadri was shot at, from close range, allegedly by militants. The attackers, who could not be identified, fled the spot after opening fire on Qadri.
According to news reports advocate Qadri, a father of two young children, was rushed to the SKIMS hospital, however he was declared ‘dead on arrival’. Qadri, was a known face from the region and was often seen on television debates, and his sudden death has impacted the lawyer community, almost as much as it has his friends and family.
Qadri was active on social media, and just three days ago, he had tweeted a screenshot and urged the police in Jammu to register an FIR against a Facebook user for spreading a malafide and incorrect campaign against him. He wrote: “I urge the state Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This untrue statement can lead to threat to my life.”
I urge the state Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This un true statement can lead to threat to my life.@ZPHQJammu pic.twitter.com/utkurYpRzk
— Babar Qadri Truth (@BabarTruth) September 21, 2020
Qadri’s last tweet, ironically illustrated the vulnerability of activists, lawyers and journalists in the Union Territory. Journalist posted a warm tribute to Qadri, “Having known him since he was a student of Law at Kashmir University, it was an association of about 15 years. Of course, many of our discussions ended in disagreements but there was a level of respect. As a person he was very warm and affectionate, always. He didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve to be shot dead! Shocked and deeply saddened by your death”
I knew him since he was a student of Law at KU. Many of our discussions ended in disagreements but there was a level of respect. He was warm &affectionate, always. He didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve to be shot dead! Shocked and deeply saddened by your death #babarqadri pic.twitter.com/OoHgf7bEB2
— Anuradha Bhasin (@AnuradhaBhasin_) September 24, 2020
Others too posted condolence messages for Qadri, who was laid to rest on Thursday night.
— MuzafferAhmed (@Muzaffe75887231) September 24, 2020
— Ali Keskin (@alikeskin_tr) September 24, 2020
— Bhat Burhan (@bhattburhan02) September 24, 2020
Within a fraction of second these Little buds, who used to play with their father have been turned into ORPHANS !?
— Asim Khan (@AsimKhanTweets) September 24, 2020
Another Day, Another family left devastated. Yesterday BDC Chairman was shot dead & today Advocate Babar Qadri who stood with pains & miseries of people of Kashmir has been gunned down. Revocation of Article 370 has only brought Bloodshed & Sufferings.
Rest In Peace #BabarQadri
— saima_chowdhary (@ChowdharySaima) September 24, 2020
The advocate is the second political or social activist to be shot dead by militants in 24 hours. As reported earlier, Bhupinder Singh, a member of the block development council in Khag area of Budgam district, was shot dead allegedly by militants at his ancestral village Dalwash on Wednesday night.
The Jammu & Kashmir Reading Room (KRR), a collective of lawyers, doctors, academicians, researchers, activists and journalists – based across the world, had recently raised its voice against the harassment of journalists and lawyers in the Union Territory (UT). The KRR had released a report on the subject on August 5, 2020, a year after J&K’s bifurcation, and withdrawal of its special status enshrined under Article 370. The UT of Jammu and Kashmir, had over the year witnessed the targeting of scores of journalists, lawyers, activists, politicians have been regularly summoned for questioning at police stations, some have been booked under anti terror laws, some allege they may be under surveillance and yet others continue to be jailed or under house arrest, even now. Many, especially political leaders and activists were also targeted by alleged militants.
The information blackout, that was near complete in the early days of the Kashmir lockdown, also had an impact on the working journalists and lawyers, making their job an uphill task. Inadequate The KRR had also recorded that journalists and lawyers had been on the receiving end of extra-judicial actions, “ranging from assassinations, death threats, to intimidation.”
Kashmir journalist assaulted, harassed by Cyber Police, for article on cyberbullying
Kashmir’s politics, social fabric, economy is battered, silenced, imprisoned: Anuradha Bhasin
I got my award for my work, not for sitting at home: Masrat Zahra
A Pulitzer for Kashmir
Ladakh journalist arrested for third party’s comment against BJP MP on Facebook!
End harassment of Kashmiri journalists, lawyers: Kashmir Reading Room