Just two days after the Modi-led Union government abrogated Article 370, which gave special constitutional status to Jammu & Kashmir, a video of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval speaking to a group of more than six Kashmiris in Shopian district in south Kashmir was released. However, it has now come to light that none of them knew that they were meeting with Doval.
According to a report in Huffpost, one of the men in the video was Mohammad Mansoor Magray, a social activist and a retired government officer. “I had never seen him (Doval) before in my life. I thought maybe he’s the personal secretary of DGP Sahab,” said Magray, adding that his family was scared when the video went viral.
The video received wide publicity because it had come two days after the Centre’s decision and the video portrayed that the locals agreed with the decision and that there was peace and calm in Kashmir.
The report states that the 62-year-old activist was told that the Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh,had come to Shopian on a visit and that he must head to the police station. He thought he was summoned because the police have been rounding up political leaders and activists in the aftermath of Article 370.
“On August 7, I was preparing for afternoon prayers at my home when some policemen in civvies came on motorcycles along with the personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They asked me to come to the police station Shopian. Since DGP Sahib is the representative of the government, I, as a social activist, decided to go to the police station. I hitched a ride on one of the motorcycles and went with them,” highlighted Magray in the report.
Magray has been a social activist for over three decades and during his tenure as a government officer, he raised several issues of employees and served as a trade union leader. He has protested the sentencing of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in New Delhi. After his retirement, he would highlight several issues in his district to ensure development in Shopian.
“Due to my rapport with the police and government officials, distressed families also approach me to get their kids released if they are picked up by security forces. They trust me and every day, you’ll see people knocking on my door to get their issues solved,” explained Magray, who went on to add that he disliked politics.
“When I reached the police station, I saw some 5-6 people from Auqaf (mosque management) already there. When I waited for 5-10 minutes and nobody turned up, I asked them: ‘Which cell are you putting me in? Here or in Tihar jail?,” said Magray in the report.
Magray then decided to leave the police station and return after lunch and I told those standing there that they should also go home and come later.
“The moment we started to leave the police station, a police vehicle came along with an ambulance. We were all boarded on the ambulance and they dumped us like cattle near the Srinagar bus stop in Shopian. Once we reached there, we saw that a chain of army and police vehicles had cordoned off the entire area,” said Magray in the Huffpost report.
When they were out of the ambulance, the Shopian SP Sandeep Chaudhary greeted him and after that he was taken to meet the DGP. During his meeting with the DGP, Magray told him about the situation of the people on the ground and about people who have been locked in thier homes for more than 72 hours.
“When I explained the situation to the DGP Sahab, he led me to a jacket-wearing man and told me to discuss these issues with him. I had never seen him (Doval) before in my life. I thought maybe he’s the personal secretary of DGP Sahab,” said Magray.
Doval told him that Article 370 has gone and Margray did not respond to the comment. Then Doval told him that people would benefit and God would keep everything well, to which Magray responded with an ‘Inshallah’.
He then talked about the development, job opportunities for the youth and other benefits. He made them understand the benefits of the government’s decision for Kashmiris, said Magray to the Huffpost reporter Safwat Zargar. The conversation lasted for around 10 minutes.
Magray said that until then he had no idea who he was speaking to. “After I saw DGP and SP standing in an alert position before him that I noticed that he can’t be the personal secretary of DGP. Only then I asked him: ‘Sir, please give me your introduction?’ And he said I am National Security Advisor of Modiji,” said Magray.
Then Magray introduced himself and told him about his work. Soon enough he shook Magray’s hands and asked him to click a picture with him.
“I realised it was a trap. Had I known it was Doval, I wouldn’t have gone. Even if they dragged me,” underscored Magray, according to the Huffpost report. “I had gone to meet DGP Sahab in good faith as a social activist,” said Magray.
After the conversation ended, the DGP asked them to have lunch. Magray says they weren’t eating biriyani as the video made it out to be. “It was not biryani. While I was interacting with Doval, some officer pushed a plate of rice in my hand. Apart from the rice, there was a chunk of “gosht” (meat) and some curry spread over it. Doval was enjoying it,” said Magray.
What complicated the matters for Magray was the statement of senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad. He called them “paid agents”. “That statement has jeopardised my life. I am going to file a defamation suit against him,” says Magray.