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When Dogra PM Apologised to Press: Remembering ‘Roshni’ in ‘Darkness’
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When Dogra PM Apologised to Press: Remembering ‘Roshni’ in ‘Darkness’

On the day when Kashmiris are observing the 175 years of the inhuman Treaty of Amritsar (the pact which sealed the fate and sold the valley along with its people, livestock and trees to Dogra rulers), many are recalling the treacherous regime’s prime minister for his principled conduct with the Fourth Pillar of Democracy, now hogging headlines for muscle-flexing and arm-twisting incidents. 

When a young journalist’s image lying on a hospital bed described a tightrope walk for media in Kashmir, many were reminded of the times when the prime minister’s office would tender an unconditional apology on behalf of his street enforcer’s conduct. 

The debate rose in the resurgent plumes of anti-dissent gas recently. As some scribes faced the stern street enforcement, the matter soon gained traction on social media and forced a media corps to issue a statement — a sob story on the scribes’ struggle and suffering in the valley.

Although the newsmen landing in trouble for reporting from the ground is nothing new, the latest attack — being termed as another instance of “an enforced darkness on the democracy’s fourth pillar” — reminded many of the treacherous regime’s “ethical” prime minister who was fired before the partition flames would engulf subcontinent.

The story revolves around Abdul Aziz Shora aka Aziz Roshni. 

Working as a columnist in Hamdard — the celebrated daily of the time when “Quit Kashmir” slogans were reverberating in the valley — the unassuming newsman was on his way to the office one day when cut short by Dogra forces at Habba Kadal bridge. 

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This street regulation was a norm in those harrowing days, when Kashmiris would face brutal taxations from the regime and ‘no return’ bonded labour trips, called Begair, to then godforsaken Gilgit. 

Emboldened by the crown’s “free hand” stick policy, the Dogra cops roughed up the columnist, before forcing him to chant: ‘Maharaja Bohoudur ki jai’ (Glory to the king!) 

The slogan was an oral litmus test of loyalty for the fraught masses, akin to a contemporary jingoistic pitch in the mainland.

The very next day, Hamdard’s editor-in-chief, Prem Nath Bazaz ran news of the incident.

On his morning table, when Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Chander Kak, read the flash, he summoned his Srinagar police chief. 

Before leaving the prime minister’s office that day, the police officer had a pressing task on hand: ‘Get me the man assaulted by the forces.’

Soon as the word spread, columnist Roshni sensed trouble and went underground. As the manhunt failed to yield any clue about him, the cops summoned his kins and told them: ‘Ask him to present himself before the prime minister next day at 10 am.

Promising to turn him up, Roshni’s relatives left the police station and went to meet him in his secret house in some obscure city corner. 

After giving a patient hearing to his visitors, he decided to meet Kak.

Next day, the columnist stood in front of the Dogra regime’s Prime Minister known for his judicial office conduct.



To Roshni’s surprise, Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit dwelling the heights of Dara Harwan, tendered an apology and assured that no such instance would be repeated in future. 

The columnist left the PM’s office with a sense of ease and encouragement, which would only boost his objective morale to detail the regime’s conduct in the valley.

Eight decades later, many scribes in the valley are wondering about this ethical conduct from the office of the so-called treacherous Dogra regime. 

As they draw parallels between then and now, they see a larger cheek grown in the name of the new crown policy.

Editor’s Note: This historic incident has been recreated from the accounts that appeared in many books and chronicler Zareef Ahmad Zareef’s extensive talks on K-history. 

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