Prof. Dr. Sheikh Jalal a well-known cardiologist was cast for a role at the international level and had he opted for New Delhi he would have earned bigger laurels as a medical scientist. But he preferred Kashmir to a bigger role at the national level. However, the state lost a doctor who treated the poor. He died after a month-long battle in the AIIMs in New Delhi.
Dr Sheikh Jalal,who was loved by the senior faculty members at the AIIMS when he was simply a student undergoing postgraduate courses in cardiology,opted for his homeland, Pampore-Srinagar simply to serve people in the valley. And for about three decades he served people, irrespective of their creed, cast, region or economic status.
Yes, a number of intellectuals, academicians, poets, writers, journalists, doctors and political leaders have lost their lives in the 23-year long militancy related violence but the valley may not be able to bear the loss it has suffered in the death of Prof. Dr Sheikh Jalal.
Prof. Dr. Sheikh Jalal died on Saturday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences a month after he was critically injured in a terror attack at his hometown of Pampore in Kashmir. Terrorists attacked him and his gunmen on July 18, in which two security men were killed on the spot and Prof. Dr Sheikh Jalal received serious injuries.
Hospital administration sources at AIIMS confirmed Prof. Dr. Sheikh Jalal’s death and said that his post mortem was being conducted by a team of doctors. His body would be flown to Srinagar for funeral rites by an afternoon flight even as some J&K Government officials were trying to arrange a special air carrier.
Forces of terror are raising their ugly head in the Kashmir valley all over again; however there has been a major shift in their strategy. Militants no longer go after poor villagers of remote areas; they have little use of such people since only a mass scale operation in rural areas creates the desired impact and such an operation has become difficult in view of the reduced strength of their groups, their limited personal capability and the enhanced vigilance of the people. What militants now look for is lucrative targets in urban areas; a police post that is thinly guarded and an eminent personality are considered to be the most rewarding hits.
It is against this backdrop that the strike on the eminent cardiologist and former Director SKIMS, Dr Sheikh Jalal-ud-din has to be seen. The Doctor is a respected member of the Kashmiri society, known for the years of self less service that he has rendered to the state, his community and humanity in general. Like other intellectuals of his calibre he also would have been quite lax so far as his security is concerned considering it to be an unnecessary appendage; after all, who would want to kill a person who has only saved lives and not harmed even a fly. The good doctor has for many long years of his life remained cocooned within the folds of his noble profession; he had no enemies to be afraid of. It is these very qualities of the doctor that converted him into a prime target for the evil forces.
A few days of reconnaissance would have created the opportunity to go for the attack, the militant were quite certain that an escape route was easily available. It is the escape route that is most important for the modern militant who values his life more than anything else. If this was not the case he would go for a fidayeen attack on some military post or some big well guarded political leader, but that would have meant certain death. Going for a soft, harmless target like Dr Jalal-ud-din fulfilled his sadistic impulses and personal security requirements; above all, the necessary impact would be there for all to see and the security forces would be seen as incapable and inefficient.
It was sheer providence that Prof. Dr Jalal-ud-Din Survived the attack even though his two security guards were not as lucky. It would be difficult to ascertain the complete sequence of events but it can be said with a reasonable amount of certainty that the brave policemen performed their duty to the hilt and managed to keep their charge relatively safe while taking the brunt of the attack on themselves. Thus the evil plan of the militants got thwarted What is most distressing is that the militant cadre has lost the very religious sanctity on the basis of which they launched their so-called Jihad in the Kashmir valley. Why otherwise would they attack another Muslim old enough to be their father in the holy month of Ramadan? Would Prof. Dr Jalal have expected in his wildest dreams that something like this would happen to him at this point in time? What enmity did these killers have with the person of Prof. Dr Sheikh Jalal and why in the process did they take the lives of two innocent soldiers? The conclusion that can be drawn from this unfortunate incident is that the militant movement in Jammu and Kashmir has completely lost out on its religious and ideological moorings and has become the den of common criminals bent upon creating mayhem with the demented view that they would be able to brow beat the State, its people and the security forces into submission. In other words, they carry a wholly warped view of their importance and capability. The only solution is to hunt down these rats as soon as possible and rid the region from the menace once and for all. One small step taken in unison would produce the desired results.