An endless wait is what fell upon the Mhatre family on 3rd Feb 1984, causing a total eclipse, when this unsung hero laid his life to rest serving on a deputation overseas. But it was not a regular or accidental death, it was a brutal murder. A bright, young, family man serving his country overseas was tortured to death for no fault of his.
The tragic & brutal murder of Ravinder Mhatre
Ironically, on August 15, 1982, when he was transferred to Birmingham, the family was thrilled because it represented the first safe post after years in troubled spots. He was in Dhaka (in undivided Pakistan) at the time of the Indo-Pakistan war in the mid-’60sand was, like other Indians, placed under house arrest. He was in Iran during the thick of the riots when the Shah was removed and Ayatollah Khomeini took over. As a result, he was often separated from his family.
In Birmingham, however, the family was finally together. Tragically his daughter Asha’s birthday fell a day after her father was kidnapped.
When Mhatre stepped out of a bus, clutching a birthday cake for his daughter Asha, he was bundled into a car and held captive for three days in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham. It is an area inhibited with an overwhelming Kashmir-British population. His body was found two days after he was kidnapped in a Birmingham suburb. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Army claimed responsibility and within hours of the kidnapping, the abductors issued their list of demands, which included one million pounds in cash and the release of Maqbool Butt, the JKLF’s co-founder, who was lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail after being sentenced to death for killing personnel of Indian security forces. Sources reveal that ‘Pakistan blocked UK bid to catch suspects in the Indian diplomat’s murder’
Pakistan’s true intent behind Kashmir
It is a pity that not many of us have correct awareness and we tend to get swayed by the sentiment generated in favour of rebels like Maqbool Bhat, who got carried away in the tide of violence when they were young and impressionable. They did not realize then that Pakistan had no love loss for Kashmir or its people; its objective was to only use the state/Kashmiris as a tool to disintegrate India. In fact, later Maqbool had publicly stated that the military rulers of Pakistan had never supported the peoples’ armed struggle in Kashmir and he and his comrades were forced to flee from Pakistan as he became the target of brutal torture and humiliation at the hands of Pakistan itself.
After the spilling of innocent Kashmiri blood in streets of Kashmir valley for long, the designs of Pakistan are very clear. Pakistan has only one interest in Kashmir and that is to secure its water supply. Indians have not been able to connect the dots for the past 70 years as to why Pakistan is fighting so hard for Kashmir. Also, Pakistanis are also unable to find the true nature of their military. From the beginning, the Pakistani Army wanted a kingdom of its own.