No hopes left for this forgotten hero

TSL News Network

Jammu, Mar 17: “The only option left for us is to cry and go back to the same life that we have been living since 1947. We have no hopes that anyone will listen to us,” says Tahir Fazal Choudhary, the Hero of Hillkaka who helped the armed forces in fighting militancy during Operation Sarv Nash, ridding Poonch of the militant hubs.

Tahir Fazal Choudhary, who helped kill eighty-three militants in Hillkaka and Murrah area of Poonch says that despite requesting several ministers including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Dr Nirmal Singh, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, among others, he has been made to run pillar to post for basic amenities like road, electricity and health facilities for the region.

Tahir Fazal narrates the tale of Operation Sarv Nash conducted in District Poonch going in detail about how his brother was killed by the militants while he was in Saudi Arabia. He came back to his village and helped erase militancy from the entire area in the year 2003.

Tahir Fazal recalls the date of 17 April 2003, when the first bullet was fired. After staying in the forest area for one month and ten days, they fought and won the battle against militancy.

He said, “Umar Musa had a training camp in our area and they taught horse-riding to the militants there. They beat my brother till death. Thirty-five civilians of my village were killed. Even army men were killed in huge numbers. When I came back from Saudi Arab, I, along with other members of the Tribal community, formed a committee to fight militancy.”

Operation Sarv Nash started while L.K Advani was Home Minister and . George Fadnavis was the Defense Minister. Promises were made to the people of Hillkaka regarding road connectivity, weapons and permanent service for the people who participated in the Operation Sarv Nash. Since officers who are posted in the area are not as aware of the ways like the villagers, him and other people of the tribal community had a huge contribution in curbing off militancy from Hillkaka. But the promises made to the people of Hillkaka were soon forgotten.

“The promise by Police regarding giving us weapons was fulfilled and we still have weapons. But as for the road, only 8 km was constructed. People have to pay about Rs 100 to travel those 8 kilometres,” says Tahir Fazal.

Frustrated by sixteen years of failed attempts at getting government’s attention towards the basic needs of the region, Tahir said, “Even the richest families in Hillkaka are dependent upon lamps. There is not even a single pole in the entire Hillkaka region for providing electricity and if any person can negate this comment, then I will leave Hillkaka, the place I put my life on the line for.”

He believes that nothing has changed for the people of Hillkaka since they are living the same life as before partition. There is no road, electricity, water or hospital in the entire region. Tahir describes the state of the middle school opened in the area as such that it has shown zero results for the past five years with no accountability to the teachers who have “supposedly” joined.

He says, “People who wish to rest easy get themselves transferred, do not show up and still get their salaries. They don’t even come to the village for joining.”

He further added, “In lower Murrah village, there is not a single hospital. When a woman is pregnant or someone gets sick, we have to carry them on our shoulders. In 2018, eighteen infants died because the women couldn’t reach the hospital.”

Alleging that the MLA responsible for Hillkaka, Choudhary Mohammad Akram receives votes on the basis of his community, Tahir says that no minister, politician or official has ever done anything to improve the condition in Hillkaka.

He has only one grievance with the government, “Our village is also a part of India. Then why is it devoid of the Central government schemes?”