Abdul Ghani Lone (1932-2002) was one of the most senior political figures in the Kashmir Valley. He was first elected to the state assembly in 1967 as a Congress candidate and served as a deputy minister and minister in the state government. He later changed parties and then established his own party, the separatist-minded People's Conference. He was a key figure in the setting up in the early 1990s of the separatist umbrella group the All Party Hurriyat Conference and was regarded as a moderate within its ranks. He was assassinated at a public gathering in Srinagar in May 2002 - it is likely that hardline armed separatists were responsible.
The interview was recorded at Abdul Ghani Lone's home in Srinagar on 9 March 1997. The building had a high fence and security grilles - there had been a series of grenade attacks and then a large car bomb attack. Lone showed me cracks in the walls caused by the car bomb. In the conversation, Abdul Ghani Lone talked about his memories of the violence in Kashmir in 1947-8 and how it affected his home village in Kupwara district and more widely about the impact of Partition on Kashmir, the mistakes made at that time and some reflections on his own career and repeated spells in jail.
[at his home village in 1948] 'I was a small boy but when a contingent of mujahideen had to retreat and they were going from my village, people - more particularly womenfolk - they were crying. They were weeping - that the Indian army is going to take us over. The Indian airplanes came and dropped a bomb in an adjacent village ... and there was some firing, strafing, also'
'Definitely [Kashmir] is suffering because of the wrong decision of the Maharajah and Sheikh Abdullah and the Indian leaders. Partition - there should have been no Partition at all, but when Partition was a fact of life, then people should have thought very properly and the accession should not have been forced with the people'
'Who knows what is in store for me and my people in Kashmir because the government of India seems to be very much adamant ... to suppress a small people like Kashmiris ... Nobody will come to our rescue'