Aapne Ek Murde Ghoday Mein Dobara Jaan Dali Hai, Pak Handler Tells Terrorists
Transcripts of telephone conversations between militants holed up in a hotel near Lal Chowk in Srinagar and their Pakistan-based handlers have been revealed by The Indian Express on Saturday which show that the attack was intended to bring Kashmir back into focus following a relatively peaceful phase last year.
Hours before the 22-hour encounter ended on January 7, Junaid, a Pakistani handler of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, told one of the militants that they had put life into a “dead horse” and that the siege had made a “good impact” on the Kashmir movement.
Excerpts from the conversation:
January 7: 7.41 am to 7.45 pm
Pak Caller (Junaid): Theek Ho? (Are you okay?)
Militant: Bas lad rahe hain, lad rahe hain dushman ke saath. (We are fighting the enemy.)
Junaid: Bas is-se hua hai ki aapne ek murde ghodey mein dobara jaan daali hai. Inshallah aapki is qurbani se aapki is himmat se, tehreek-e-Kashmir mein inshallah achcha assar padega. Aur Kashmir ki tehreek jo hai na, dobara usi nehej pe aayegi. Bada achcha assar pad raha hai iska. (You have breathed life into a dead horse. Your sacrifice and courage will have a good impact on the movement in Kashmir. And the Kashmir movement will once again get direction and importance. It has really had a good impact.)
Militant: Inshallah, kyon nahi... hum to mehnat kar rahein hain is kaam ke upar... har ek bhai ko karni chahiye iske upar mehnat... ghar mein sab theek hai? (Why not? We are working hard. Other brothers should also work hard. All well at home?)
Junaid: Aapki dua kar rahe hain... (They are all praying for you) Baaki jitni der chala sakein inko to utna chalaein. (Just try to keep this going for as long as you can.)
Miltant: Asla jab tak hamare paas hai to ladenge inke saath. (We will fight them till we have ammunition.)
Junaid: Haan, bas etihaat ke saath... jo bas ek-ek, do-do... inhe masroof rakhein... isse inka zyada se zyada kharcha hoga. (Yes but with caution. One-one, two-two... keep them engaged... ensure they incur maximum loss)
Militant: Bilkul, bilkul. Inko lakhon ke hisaab se kharcha hua hai. Kal ek baje se shuru hai na fight... raat bhar chalti rahi hai aur abhi bhi chal rahi hai. (Absolutely, they have already incurred losses in lakhs. This fight started at 1 pm yesterday and continued through the night and is still going on.)
The conversations suggest that the militants got several calls, some possibly from other militants in the Valley. In fact, the handlers did not even seem to know that one of the militants, Manzoor Ahmed Bhatt, who went by the code name Usman, was Kashmiri. They seemed to be more familiar with Abu Qari, the Pakistani militant. As this conversation shows.
January 6: 8.55 pm to 8.57 pm
Junaid: Achchi karawahi ho rahi hai¿total kitney saathi hain? (Nice work, how many of you?)
Usman: Hum do saathi hain - ek Pakistani aur main Kashmiri hoon... hum lad rahein hain na bhai bhai. Dushman ne hamein gher liya hai, makaan se lad rahe hain. (There are two of us. One Pakistani, and I am a Kashmiri. The enemy has surrounded us and we are fighting from a house.)
The calls from Pakistan handlers were intended to both motivate and instruct. Besides Junaid, one Saifullah — who seems to be the leader — was giving directions. Intelligence sources said these could be all code names.
January 6: 9.05 pm to 9.14 pm
Pakistani Militant Abu Qari: Kya haal hai buzurgon? Mehnat zaaya nahi hoga, rang laayega... bas abhi chhupey huey hain... log bahar nahin nikal rahein hain taki ham inki khopdi mein marey ek do. (So how are you? Hard work is paying off... these people are now hiding. If only they come out, we can shoot them in the head...)
Pak handler Saifullah: Inshallah, niklenge aur zaroor maar khayenge... koshish karein ki kafi time nikle, aaj raat bhi nikle aur kal din bhi nikalni chahiye. (They will come out, don't worry. You must make every effort to stretch this through the night and the whole day tomorrow.)
Saifullah: Aur mobile bhi on rakhein ki hum aapse thodi thodi der mein baat karte rahenge... (And keep your mobile on so that we can get in touch with you after every little while.)
Qari: Ek van sa hai, kuchch peeche se fire karte hain aur fauji beech se phenkta hai (They have a van... from behind which there is firing, and the Armymen then throw something from within.)
Saifullah: Maro unke khopdi mein maro, roshni ka intezaar karo, abhi woh andhere mein nazar nahi aayenge. Koshish karo ki asla bacha ke rakho aur subah ka intezaar karo. Roshni hogi to dobara fight shuru karo (Shoot them in the head. Wait for daylight, then start your fight again.)
These instructions went on through the night, with calls coming every few hours. At one stage, Saifullah inquired about hotel residents and seemed a bit disappointed to learn that they had all been evacuated.
January 6: 11.02 pm to 11.05 pm
Saifullah: Kya position hai, fire ho rahi hai ki khamoshi? (What is the position? Is there firing or silence?)
Qari: Bas firing ho rahi hai (There is firing.)
Saifullah: Yeh jo hotel hai... kitney manzil hai? (This hotel has how many floors?)
Qari: Restaurant hai. (There is a restaurant.)
Saifullah: Manzil? (Floors?)
Qari: Teen manzil (Three floors)
Saifullah: To isme log wagera they... kidhar gaye? (So, there would have been people in there... where are they?)
Qari: Woh hum jo Lal Chowk mein firing kar rahe they¿ 8-10 logon ko litaya, to tab tak woh logon ko kidhar se nikal gaye. (We were in Lal Chowk firing, where we killed 8-10 people... by that time these people were taken out from somewhere)
Saifullah: Achcha... chalo theek hai... (Ok then, fine...)
The last call happened just before 11 am, by when the Pakistani militant was killed and the Kashmiri militant Usman was holding fort. He informed his handlers about his partner's death and hoped he would also get martyrdom. No one called after that to check on him.
January 7: 10.51 am to 10.52 am
Pak caller: Salaam Walekum Rehmatullah, bhai kya haal hai (Greetings, how are things brother?)
Usman: Bas shukar hai Allah ka. Qari sahib ko shahadat mil gayi. Bas unka saans nikalne waala hai. (By the grace of Allah, Qari sahib has attained martyrdom. He will soon breath his last.)
Caller: Allahtala unki shahadat qubul karein (May Allah accept his martyrdom.)
Usman: Mere liye bhi dua karein. Inshallah, meri shahadat bhi lag jaaye. (Pray for me too that I also attain martyrdom.)
Caller: Agar Qari sahib hosh mein ho to unhe mera salaam de dein. (If Qari sahib is still in his senses, give him my salaam.)
In some of the conversations, the phone would be placed next to a speaker and Qari would speak with great pride about how he was feeling as he undertook this mission. But clearly the spirit of the first day dissipated soon and as the voices in the conversation suggest, the militants had given up by the next day. At one point, their Pakistan handlers wanted them to examine escape routes, but the militants told them they had no chance.