Tribute to Tika Lal Taploo

Chand Jee  Bhat
It was broad daylight when sky came under the dark clouds with the assassination of Pt Tika Lal Taploo who was voice of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley of Kashmir. The terrorists silenced this voice on 13th September 1989 with the brutal bullets of gun fired by militants signaling Kashmiri Pandits to remain calm or face the same consequences. This was considered the start of terrorism in Kashmir.
It is not wrong to say that he was really a lion amongst all in Kashmir.  Tika Lal Taploo was the first Hindu to fall to the bullet after the terrorists had declared their war according to the directions of their masters  across the border. It was first step of plan game of “Operation To pack” for terrorizing Kashmiri Pandits so that they leave Kashmir valley.  It was not just a coincidence that  Tika Lal Taploo was selected as the first target amongst lacks of Kashmiri Pandits.  On 12th September’1989 he was attacked at his residence in Chinkral Mohalla, but came out openly and challenged the militants without any fear. He warned terrorists to have come to the den of the Lion. Every body in Habba Kadal constituency Muslim or Hindu called him “ Lala” means elder brother. He was known by this name among colleagues in Bar, his Political party and even in other social organization of which he was a member or a patron. This is also the key reason for his death. His protests against ” Terrorism” carried weight with the masses and had the capacity to change his voice into a movement. This, the terrorists could not afford.
This noble soul was born in 1930. He did his Matriculation in 1945 from Punjab University and MA LLB from Aligarh Muslim University.  Pt Tika Lal Taploo joined Kashmir Bar in 1957 and was taking leading role in promotion of Justice. He was enrolled as an Advocate of High Court on April 1971. He was a RSS activist and was arrested so many times while fighting the cause of the people in Kashmir. He was not charging any thing to his poor clients and was pleading their case in court irrespective of religion.
In 1975 when internal Emergency had gripped the whole nation, on the call of Lok Sangagh Samiti formed by various national parties under the leadership of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan
Tika Lal Taploo courted arrest at historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar with some of his friends. While in custody third degree methods by police were adopted for him and his friends. The police violated all the norms of civil liberties and human rights in interrogation. Tika Lal along with his companion Madan Lal Khashu and Shiban Jee Pandita were treated as criminals, so much so, for producing before the Magistrate in Srinagar Court, they were handcuffed and dragged through the busy market of Maharaja Bazar, Sarai-Bala, Amiri-Kadal, Harozi Bagh etc. On their entry in the court premises all advocates cutting across political affiliation and faiths thronged into the bar and protested against the handcuffing of Pt. Taploo and foiled the attempt of the police who were trying to seek further remand for inflicting more torture. After remaining in judicial lock up for months he was honorably released along with his other friends. He was state Vice President of Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu and Kashmir when he fell victim of terrorist bullets.
Among others Kedar Nath Sahni and L. K. Advani together with thousands of Kashmiri Hindus accompanied his funeral procession. The Kashmiri Hindu organizations had given a call for a bandh that day. The Hindu shops schools and office-establishment were closed. As the mortal remains of Dear Lala  on his last journey wound its way through the streets of Srinagar some miscreants and hoodlums of JKLF tried to disrupt the procession by pelting stones on the procession. They however failed in their attempt to disrupt the procession. The Muslim community in general was also grief stricken but choose to stay quite because of the gun culture just unleashed in Srinagar.
Tika Lal Taploo was a “Nationalist” par excellence. He could never compromise on the question of “Bharat” and Kashmir being an integral part of it. He was a great orator and could keep his audience spell bound by his logic and a special emphatic way of delivering his words. He was a skilled and gifted lawyer, but never did he use his skill for commercial gains. He pleaded free of charge for any downtrodden, be it a poor peasant, driver or prosecuted penniless person. He was totally dedicated towards delivering justice to one and all irrespective of his race and religion. This was one of his ways of practicing the secular character, which he always stood for and practiced till his last.
Pt.Tika Lal Taploo was never consideration money minded. Whatever he earned as a lawyer, he spent on the needy widows helping them with their monthly rations, paying for school fees of their children, paying for marriage of a number of Muslim girls. He saved a number of homes from disintegration and prolonged litigation by adjudicating the family dispute out of court in a fair manner.
Pt Tika Lal Taploo was a politician and rose to the high office of Vice President of Pradesh Bhartiya Janta Party. He was a fearless, transparent, honest and an upright politician. Never succumbing to pressures on principles, never cringing before the highest; never failing to call an ace an ace even against overwhelming odds. Whether he was in bar, where he was a loner, or in Lal Chowk amongst a multitude of people, he would never compromise on principles.
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