QUIET CHRONICLER OF KASHMIR
Meet HabibNaqash, the Photojournalist who has captured the #Horror of the #Kashmir conflict like few other.
Habib is a Naqash in truest sense of the term. He is unlettered but his camera has done the talking for beleaguered Kashmir for the past 40 years. Having captured the Mashali Mohallah, Hawal, massacre of 1990, the firing on Mirwaiz Farooq’s funeral procession, the Sopore carnage of 1993 and the Pandit exodus, Habib has made it to TIME magazine, BBC online and a number of prestigious publications across the world.
“I have seen and understood life in its right perspectives,” he often says. But people close to him hold a contrary view. They sayd Habib has seen death more closely than he has life.
Habib was injured when a parcel bomb went off in the then BBC correspondent Yusuf Jameel’s office in Srinagar on September 7, 1995. The explosion claimed Mushtq Ali, a videographer with the news agency ANI, and left Jameel seriously wounded. The deadly parcel had been delivered by a veiled lady for Jameel.
The injuries did not deter Habib. The “risky job” continued and, he saw life and death ever more closely in the coming years. In November 1999, militants attacked the Indian army’s 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh, Srinagar. Habib happened to be there. “A colleague and I were accompanying a friend who was in need of some permit from the army. We waited outside as our friend went in. After some time, public relations officer Major Purshottam came out and told us to wait in his office. Soon, militants came and shot the major and some soldiers. We hid in the washroom. The gunfight turned intense after sunset. We were scared to death. We came out around 2 in the morning.”
Habib had another close shave with death on August 10, 2000, when a car bomb went off at Lal Chowk, killing 10 people, including the Delhi-based photojournalist Pradeep Bhatia. The explosion came five minutes after a grenade attack at around 12.30 pm. Many of the security personnel and journalists who had rushed to the site of the attack were then caught in the blast. •
Written by Zahir Din
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