Renowned Kashmiri Journalist Yousuf Jameel remembers Shaikh Tajammul

Kashmiri journalist Yusuf Jameel wins PEN Gauri Lankesh Award for 2019-’20Srinagar, September 07 (KMS): Srinagar-based seasoned journalist, Yousuf Jameel in a write-up refreshed his memories of veteran journalist, intellectual and the Executive Director of Kashmir Media Service, Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam, who passed away in Islamabad on Sunday night.

Yousuf Jameel wrote that after having failed to break his [Shaikh Tajammal’s] resolve or make him change his political ideology, the Indians wanted to get rid of him. “His decision to leave Kashmir for ever was seen by some of those at the helm as a ‘God-given opportunity’.”

This is the text of Yousuf Jameel’s write-up:

I covered Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam widely for the news organizations I was working for in early 1980s. He was the most active and powerful chief of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, Jammu and Kashmir. In the picture here, captured by me with a Pentax MV1 I had just bought, he is seen addressing an impromptu rally beside a bookstall set up by the IJT at Srinagar’s Eidgah on the day of Eid.

One day I saw him inside the (old) J&K High Court complex where his father Sheikh Abdul Ahad was working as a petition-writer. After our shaking hands, he told me that he had, a few weeks earlier, come to see me at our home at Raze Kada’l in downtown Srinagar but was told by a neighbour that we had shifted to Illahi Bagh on the peripheries of the City sometime ago. Then revealing the purpose of his visit, and as the wisdom demanded, he said, “Woyn yi aasi, ti aasi, pansiye nish thaevzyv (whatever it may be like keep it to yourself now)”.

He said that he wanted to meet up to inquire about our neighbor and my professional colleague Manzoor Anjum and then quickly shared the ‘khosh khabar’ (good news). “My sister was engaged to him a few days ago,” he said. I congratulated him and requested him to convey my best wishes to his sister.

A couple of years later, Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam migrated to Pakistan via Nepal. I did a story on his hijrat and the apparent reason behind it-why he chose to give up his own land. My story also said that the authorities had learned through an intelligence agency about his plan to depart but they did not try to stop him, seemingly because they, after having failed to break his resolve or make him change his political ideology, wanted to get rid of him somehow. His decision to leave Kashmir for ever was seen by some of those at the helm as a ‘God-given opportunity’.

A few days later, Sheen Meem Ahmed Sahab who had worked closely with Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam in the IJT saw me entering Srinagar’s Central Telegraph Office (CTO). After initial exchange of pleasantries, he asked me, “Why have you done a story against Shaikh Sahab?” I was somewhat astonished at his query. I thought he was talking about Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. I had not done any story on him in the recent past. He was actually referring to the story on Shaikh Tajammul-ul-Islam which had appeared in The Telegraph a couple of days ago. Ostensibly, he had misunderstood the line in my copy which had said ‘an intelligence agency knew about the Shaikh’s plan and had alerted the government about it, but the latter didn’t try to stop him.’

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