Iron Man of Kashmir
By Som Nath Suri
(Member working Committee State BJP)
(Member National Council BJP)

14th September, the martyrdom day of Shaheed Tika Lal taploo will be written in Golden letters in the history of Kashmir. My thousands of elutes to him. Shri Taploo was the Vice President of Pradsh BJP Deeply engrossed, in nationalist spirit, always reciting the mantra of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and what great conviction of integration of Kashmir with rest of India, he was snatched by the cruel hands of terrorists from us. He became martyr, but we were orphan. His martyrdom encouraged the nationalist spirit and the news of his death spread like wild fire in whole state rather in the whole of India. A sea of mourners irrespective of cast and creed from every walk of life and every corner of the state converged on the house of the martyr. Women were beating their breasts and wailing ‘Kut Gow Panun Lala, Hai Lalo, Hai Lalo’ Shri Tika Lal was called ‘Lala’ by the kashmiris. The Tulsi’s version fitted him so well. When you were born, you cried, but all of us laughed, but when you left, you laughed, but all of us wept.

On the death of this “Iron Man of Kashmir” beyond expectations, great people like Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Shri Kedar Nath Shani from Delhi, Shri Inder Jee Sah Prant Pracharak, Shri Sat Pal General Secretary J& K State RSS came to mourn him. His last journey started from Historical Sheetal Nath Shrini and it took more then 5 hours to reach the Shamshan Boomi hardly a mile away. In the history of Kashmir it was second mourning procession after Sheikh Mohd. Abdulla. This shows how popular he was. When Shri Advani questioned the then CM Dr. Farooq Abdullah about the lack of security for Sh Tika Lal taploo, he candidly accepted that I know that Mr. Taploo was liked by all. I never expected terrorists to bend so low.

In an all party condolence meeting at Sheetal Nath, leaders from all the political parties including Thakur Baldev Singh, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Shri Bagwat Swaroo from Jammu, Hon Justice ML Bhat, Shri Mohan Kishan Tikoo, Shri Gh. Ahmed Bhat, participated and paid their tributes.

In 1975 when the blue star storm reached Srinagar on 11th June the procession turned violent, a number of temples schools and some houses cars belonging to minority community were burned and divested. The city was put under curfew. He along with other workers me the Governor Mr Jagmohan and the govt came into action. I have had the honor to work with Mr Taploo till he breath his last. I vividly remember the days of 1976-77 when whole of India was clutched in emergency, no single man could talk about the emergency, thousands of Indians were incarnated, but the great son of Kashmir along with his colleagues in spite of strict security demonstrated in Lal Chawk Srinagar and was arrested. He also protested against Radio Kashmir which has turned into a mouth piece of emergency.

The price was rising alarmingly, Congress, National Conference and other political parties were silent, only Shri Taploo along with followers submitted a memorandum of Chief Secretary and demonstrated against Price rise. It was a head line in all papers in the valley. On one occasion I remember, he was arrested in the court premises, the bar association protested against it and struck work. He usually would be seen talking on the politics of Kashmir with other bar members and friends and foe in the bar.

It was common talk in the bar after the martyrdom of Shri Taploo, that the terrorist who killed him had not dared to shoot him from the front as he must have feared an assault from the courageous Tika Lal. His popularity varied other reasons. He was an advocate by profession, he was a social worker he would always enquire about the well being of his neighbors mostly Muslims and do any odd job including appearing free of cost in the courts for friends and foes alike.

He fought his election quite a number of times, the last he fought for BJP against his NC rival Shri PL Handoo sensing the tilt in favor of Shri Taploo, the NC govt tried to bate him with a seat in bench of High Court which he turned down. He used to solve domestic problems by arbitration and out of court.

In 1986 carnage, Shri Tika Lal toured whole of the valley along with Shri Kedar nath Sahney the Gen Secretary and AK Patel, MP, Pacified the victions and exposed a conspiracy of Shri Mohd Muft Syed. The Govt of India was informed and relief work in Anantnag was started.

Evedently Shri Tika Lal’s whole life passed in struggle with the assassination, the nationalist forces in Kashmir were forced to leave their mother land. All of us feel void created by the martyrdom and we salute our “Lalla” the Iron man Kashmir. Let his soul rest in peace.