J&K Assembly: Don't forget the role of counter-insurgent leader Kuka Parray, says Congress MLA

"Should I open the can of worms?” Usman Majid, former counter-insurgent and Congress MLA from north Kashmir’s Bandipora town, shouted in the State Legislative Assembly on Monday, stunning the ruling coalition as well as the members of the Opposition.

Chaos reigned in the state Assembly on Monday with the lawmakers, dissatisfied with the Jammu and Kashmir government’s response, demanded a judicial probe into the 2016 unrest in Kashmir that left over 100 people dead and thousands injured.

When the Opposition members jumped into the Well and disrupted the proceedings, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, an MLA of the ruling PDP, accused Majid of killing people like “ants” in his hometown Bandipora, when he was part of the state militia known as Ikhwan — credited for breaking the back of insurgency in the state.

Ruckus in the J&K Assembly. Photo courtesy: Sameer Yasir

Ruckus in the J&K Assembly. Photo courtesy: Sameer Yasir

Majid has worked closely with Kuka Parray who was the founding head of Ikhwan. The Ikhwanis were members of Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon group founded by Parray after he publicly surrendered to the security forces.

“It is because of people like Parray that you are sitting in this Assembly. If we (MLAs) are speaking here, it is because of Parray. In the 90s, Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) told Parray that we are with you, go ahead,” Majid shouted at the PDP MLA.

Parray, a folk singer-turned militant, after his surrender to the security forces in 1993, turned a renegade and is believed to have committed massive human rights violations during that period. To the ordinary people of Kashmir, he was a dreaded figure.

Suspected militants, however, managed to kill him in his bastion of Hajin in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. His killing was a big jolt to the counter-insurgency grid as he was considered to be the "eyes and ears" of the security forces in Kashmir.

Outside the J&K Assembly, Majid told Firstpost that he stands by his statement and said it is because of these “counter-insurgents” democracy and electoral politics was brought back to the valley.

“This House should be thankful to people like him (Parray),” he told Firstpost.

Parray, a tall, broad shouldered man, had played an influential role in the 1996 Assembly election which saw Farooq Abdullah coming to office as the chief minister after years of political crisis.

“Had this election (in 1996) not happened in the valley, the militancy would have continued for another eight to 10 years,” AS Dulat, head of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) writes in his book Kashmir the Vajpayee Years.

The National Conference, which was the only regional party to contest the election, won 57 seats in 1996. “The 1996 election was a masterstroke, because it revived the political process and broke the back of militancy,” writes Dulat in his book.

“Parray's contribution to the restoration of peace and democracy in the state should not be forgotten. We all should be grateful for it. Peace and democracy was restored because of his fight against terrorism,” Majid told Firstpost.

“All these people (politicians) were hiding. Where were these people when Kashmir was burning?” he added.

After the ruckus in the Assembly, the Speaker adjourned the session.

“I have been elected twice to this House. The PDP and the BJP, from Srinagar to Delhi and the entire administration, tried to make sure that I don’t win the election in 2014. But I won. If there was any allegation like this (of indulging in massive human rights abuses) against me, people would not have chosen me as their candidate,” Majid said.

“You can’t hide it for a long time if you have killed people. People who are in this House, with whom they have affiliation, no one knows it better then me," he added.