[Reader-list] Cross-border bride brawl

Kshmendra Kaul kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 30 18:13:01 IST 2009

Sunday , September 27 , 2009
"Cross-border bride brawl"
Srinagar, Sept. 26: Separatist groups headed by men married to girls from outside the state have left battered and bruised the editor of a weekly who has been critical of such matrimonial alliances which have been quite common among Kashmiri leaders.
Supporters of Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and J&K Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik — both are married to girls who are not from the state — barged into a hotel lobby and disrupted a news meet being addressed by Shabnum Qayoom, editor of the weekly Quami Waqar.
Qayoom, who was also assaulted, said he had been forced to call the news meet after JKLF leaders threatened to kill him for being critical of Malik’s marriage with Pakistani artist Mushaal Malik. 
The editor was particularly critical of Malik, though he made a passing reference of Mirwaiz, whose wife is an American of Kashmiri origin, and separatist-turned-mainstream leader Sajjad Lone, who too is married to a Pakistani.
Malik recently married Mushaal, while Mirwaiz and Sajjad had solemnised theirs some years ago.
Kashmir has a history of its politicians marrying non-Kashmiris, but it is perhaps the first time that such weddings have been publicly questioned.
National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah was married to Begum Akbar Jahan, the daughter of British hotelier Harry Nedous and Mir Jan, a Kashmiri. Prior to her marriage to Sheikh Abdullah, Begum Akbar Jahan was, according to writer Tariq Ali, the wife of T.E. Lawrence, the legendary British military officer known as Lawrence of Arabia.
Farooq Abdullah, the son of Sheikh Abdullah and Akbar Jahan, too followed in his father’s footsteps by marrying Molly, a British citizen. Chief minister Omar Abdullah, the son of Farooq, has a Punjabi wife, Payal.
Qayoom believes Kashmiris are not against inter-racial marriages but they have a big reason to question separatists who do it.
“I am not against a Kashmiri marrying a non-Kashmiri and perhaps other Kashmiris also think on similar lines. But separatists started the armed movement here, which has created an army of widows and orphaned girls. It is they who separatists should marry and not the elite girls from outside our state,” Qayoom told The Telegraph.
The editor, who too has separatist leanings, said he had lodged a formal complaint with the police against the men who assaulted him. “I was beaten by them,” he said.
Earlier during the news conference, a JKLF supporter created a ruckus inside the hall as Qayoom was reading from a prepared text. The moment he referred to Mirwaiz’s marriage, he received a thrashing, apparently from the supporters of the Hurriyat chairman.
Deputy inspector-general of police H.K. Lohia said they had rounded up five activists.
Qayoom said he was against Malik’s marriage for another reason — his artist wife made “nude paintings”.
It appeared that Mirwaiz and Malik supporters got wind of the news conference in advance and were present in full strength at the venue.
They raised slogans against Qayoom, claiming he had raised the issue at the behest of Indian intelligence agencies. “He (Qayoom) is on the payroll of the IB,” an activist shouted.
Qayoom, intriguingly, was defended by some supporters of Hurriyat hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who too were present in strength.


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