Exiled Dr. Ayub Thakur: Kashmir’s first Nuclear Physicist

On Feb 12, 2004, 55-year-old Dr. Ayub plunged in a deep coma from which he never returned. Ayub was one of the strongest advocates of Kashmir’s freedom and the voice of the valley across the European continent. He not only worked for the downtrodden of the valley but also exposed the Human Rights violations in Kashmir at international platforms.

Born in January 1948, in Pudsoo village of Shopian, Indian-Administered-Kashmir, Thakur completed most of his education from his hometown. He later joined Nuclear Physics studies and became active in politics at Kashmir University.

After he completed his Ph.D. from Kashmir University, Ayyub was appointed as a Lecturer by KU in the department of physics in 1978 but soon he found himself in the whirlpool of the Kashmir politics. He founded Jammu and Kashmir Students Islamic Organisation in 1974 which later became Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. In addition to that, he was also the head of the Kashmir University Students Union and Kashmir University Research Scholars Association.

These political fronts enabled him to voice his opinion and lobby for the right-to-self determination in Kashmir and build support for the UNSC resolutions to be implemented. In August 1980, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba organized a right-to-self determination outlining UNSC resolutions. The conference was disbanded by the Indian government and Thakur along with his colleagues were booked under PSA.

Dr . Ayub Thakur – Nuclear Physicist and Scientist. ( Jan 1948 – 10 March, 2004)

He was released from the jail in 1981 and went on to join the Nuclear Engineering Department of King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as a lecturer. It was due to his rigorous hard work that many countries had begun to become aware of the Indian occupation of Kashmir. He moved to London in 1986 for a post-Doctorate research program where Dr. Ayub Thakur founded three Kashmir freedom advocacy groups – World Kashmir Freedom Movement (WKFM – 1990),  UK-based charity, Mercy Universal (2000), and Justice Foundation ( 2003). Though after his death the two went defunct WKFM is still active in London.

He lectured on Kashmiri’s right-to-self determination across the U.K as well as addressed many international conferences. Indian Government impounded his passport in 1993. It took him four years to get the travel papers from the U.K Government.

Dr. Ayub attended hundreds of seminars and conferences around the world in universities, think tanks, and other institutions, including the Oxford, Cambridge, and United Nations bodies. During his activism, he had already attended many conferences like Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1979, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1980, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Thakur opposed the Sheikh-Indira Accord of 1975 which he thought of strengthening the occupation.

WKFM is mostly based around Kashmiri’s right-to-self-determination. It organized an international conference on the Kashmir Conflict in July 1991. The conference was a huge success that was attended by many members of the US Congress,  British Parliament, and European Parliament who pressed on the tri-partite talks to resolve the issue.

The meeting didn’t go well with the Indian government. He was booked under TADA. Indian government demanded the extradition of Thakur on multiple occasions including 1992, 1993, and 2002. He appeared in various international summits and conferences including 1991 Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Turkey, the 1993 OIC summit meeting in Dakar, Senegal, 1993 session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and later the World Conference on Human Rights at Vienna, Austria in June 1993. In Kuala Lumpur, all thanks to him, a resolution was passed that condemned the occupation of Kashmir. His untiring determination and dedication to the cause of Kashmir were one of the many solidarity movements that Kashmiris spearheaded in Europe and the Americas.

Thakur was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and died in exile on 10 March 2004. After his family’s request to have him buried in Indian-Administered-Kashmir was denied by the Indian Government, Thakur was laid to rest at Garden of Peace, in Greenford, West London.

He is survived by his wife, son Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur, and two daughters who live in London.

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