Babar Qadri was a 40-year-old lawyer who was a regular on TV debate and panel discussions. He also regularly wrote columns in Kashmiri newspapers.
- Last Updated: September 25, 2020, 6:22 PM IST
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On Friday night, news of the shooting of Kashmiri advocate and TV personality Babar Qadri went viral on social media. Qadri, 40, was shot by a single bullet as he was stepping outside his home in the Hawal area of central Srinagar, Kashmir. The incident has caused unrest in Kashmir, especially since it followed three days after Qadri tweeted to Jammu and Kashmir police, telling them about a threat to his life.
READ: Days after Tweeting to Police for Help, Advocate Shot Dead at Home by Militants in Srinagar
Who is Babar Qadri?
Babar Qadri is a 40-year-old lawyer-activist who was a regular on TV debate and panel discussions. Hw also regularly wrote columns in Kashmiri newspapers. A prominent and well-known lawyer in Srinagar, Qadri was known to take up cases for juvenile justice such as cases where juveniles had been booked by the state. Qadri had been practicing law for the past decade. Active in student politics, Qadri started practicing law in 2008. He is survived by two young daughters.
Why did Qadri send an SOS to cops?
Qadri was a regular on national as well as international tv news channels when it came to speaking on matters regarding Kashmir. While he spoke and worked against the Indian government’s use of acts like PSA to detain minors among other issues, he also spoke about other problems faced by the Kashmiri population. For his views and his proximity to national media channels, Qadri was often projected as a threat by some. On September 21, Qadri tweeted to the police saying, “I urge the state Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread the wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This untrue statement can lead to a threat to my life”. He also shared screenshots of the person called Nazir giving him open threats in the comments.
I urge the state Police administration to register FIR against this Shah Nazir who has spread wrong campaign that I work for agencies. This un true statement can lead to threat to my life.@ZPHQJammu pic.twitter.com/utkurYpRzk
— Babar Qadri Truth (@BabarTruth) September 21, 2020
Was Qadri in danger?
Qadri often identified himself as “pro-Kashmir and not anti-India”. He was quick to question separatist leaders and politics within Kashmir as well as identified Kashmir as a trilateral matter. Recently, Qadri had launched the All JK People’s Justice Party and had named himself its President. Following this, his membership of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) was suspended. This month, the Bar Council also refused to revoke the suspension. Following the ruling, Qadri said, “When I formed a Lawyers Club of Kashmir, I was accused of dancing on the tunes of Indian agencies. Now when I work for unity and want to (re)join, the passage is blocked to me”. On Wednesday, days before his shooting, Qadri also said on Facebook that “The bar needs a moderate but intelligent leading group. We need good speakers, good debating persons who can talk on our behalf. We need a person who can confront a judge or an official of the administration. Yes we got enough exploited by emotional blackmail, coercion and threats to life which was a norm that we were made used to. Now the change is on a plate, go and have it. The traditional DOPE LALLAN should now be buried down alongside Covid-19”. His words did not seem to go down well with a majority with many calling him a government stooge. In 2018, after the murder of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, he had accused several separatist organizations in Kashmir such United Jihad Council and Joint Resistance Leadership of being involved in the attack and also blamed them if anything were to happen to him.
What was the police response?
After Qadri’s death was confirmed by the SKIMS Hospital, police have increased security in J&K, especially in the Hawal area where huge crowds gathered for Qadri’s funeral. As per reports, police said that despite Qadri’s tweet, the advocate had not filed any formal FIR. Security has been increased in Srinagar since the passing of the advocate. All political parties in Kashmir as well as the BJP have expressed shock at the shooting. A manhunt for the assailants has since been launched.