Srinagar, Oct. 26: A former militant commander blamed by Pandits for driving them out of the Valley has won the heart of a young Kashmir Administrative Service officer.
Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karatey, who heads a breakaway faction of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), will marry Assabah Arjumand, who cracked the prestigious exam in 2009.
Dar has a controversial past and is blamed by Pandits for creating a fear psychosis among them that led to their exodus. He is also accused of killing several Pandits before his arrest in June 1990, for which he spent 17 years in jail. He has denied the charges.
The news of the marriage has surprised many given the contrasting backgrounds of the couple.
Dar, who is in early 40s, was arrested in June 1990 and when he was released in 2007, he was then Kashmirs longest incarcerated prisoner. He was again arrested and jailed for nine months during the 2008 Amarnath land agitation.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for freed militants to get married. Many see them as potential targets of security forces. Fathers are reluctant to give away daughters in marriage to them.
But such fears havent stopped Assabah, a Kashmir University mass communication post-graduate in her early thirties, from falling in love with Dar and convincing her parents. Sources said, however, that she had to resist opposition from within and outside her family.
Dar, who lives in a ramshackle house in Srinagars Guru Bazaar locality, said Assabah knows everything about his past. I told her everything about life. It is a love marriage but both families have given their consent, he said.
The JKLF leader admitted there was strong opposition from Assabahs family. For nine months, she resisted that opposition but was able to convince her parents to agree to the marriage.
Dar said, though, that he would not be the first separatist to get hitched to an officer of the Jammu and Kashmir government and that her job in the Srinagar-based general administration department was not a hurdle to their marriage.
You have many examples. My friend Javed Mirs (also a JKLF leader) wife is a public prosecutor. Similarly, Nayeem Khan (another separatist) married a university professor.
All those who are in government service are with azaadi. Freedom is my first and last love and this marriage will not compromise that, Dar added.