2001 July 24 – I was returning from a one day tour of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
In connection with the membership verification, I had gone to Srinagar, J and K , by flight on 23rd July. Jammu and Kasmir still in turbulent situation due to terrorists, but can not avoid journey. Com. A.R.Tak, Circle Secretary ITEU welcomed me at airport. Meeting was for formation of BSNLEU Circle Union by merging T.III, ITEU, Administrative and E.III(N) unions. Despite grave situation, more than 200 comrades participated. Formed BSNL Circle Union with Coms. V.K.Mahaldar as President and Nizar Ahmed as Circle Secretary. Addressed a well attended seminar. BSNL IQ booked for stay, but Com.Nizar Ahmed took me to his home stating home is safe and not IQ. I could feel the tension in their faces. Com. Tak was also staying in a portion of the house. As the system in Kashmir, we all took our tasty dinner prepared by Mrs. Nizar sitting on the beautiful carpet in the kitchen and discussing organisational matters. Only vegetarian as a special case.
Next day, there was another meeting in the morning. By the time meeting was over, it was time to move to Airport to catch my flight. Started by car, but it was stopped at many points by para military / military forces. There was a blast that day and every vehicle was being checked and searched. Just about half km from the airport, the car stopped. There were at least 20 vehicles in front’. The para-military forces have created a blockade and no vehicle was being allowed to proceed without full check. The check-in time was almost over, and I got worried. Got down with my bag, walked up to the barricade and crossed it after check. I requested one person who was proceeding to the airport after check and requested him to give a lift since my car was far behind. He agreed. I went to the ticket counter to find out whether my ticket is confirmed. 5 – 6 persons were in queue, but when I told them that my flight was due, they allowed me to check with with counter. Luckily ticket has been confirmed. I thanked the comrade who accompanied me and moved to the entry gate.
It was at this moment that the young man who gave me lift came and said that he has got more luggage than can be carried and whether I can help by taking some, since I did not have any big luggage. I was in two minds. Don’t know what is inside the luggage and I may be in danger. on the other side, had he not helped, I would not have reached airport at all. I took the risk, took the luggage with me and moved to the gate. The security stopped me, told me that the luggage is not mine, he has seen what happened and it cannot be carried by me. I had no other go but to return the same to the young man. However, inside I was relieved that the danger is over.
I went inside, got the boarding pass and boarded the flight. The young man also came and was in my next seat. I asked him what happened. He laughed and told me that there was no problem except strict checking, had to pay extra charge for the extra luggage. After all I could attend the meeting with the Communications Minister next day, arranged by Com. T.Govindan M.P.
However the meeting did not take place. Phoolan Devi, M.P. was murdered in front of her bunglow on Ashoka Road and the city was in turmoil.