Maqbool Bhat (مقبول بٹ ) (Nastaleeq)) (February 18, 1938– February 11, 1984) was a separatist leader from Jammu and Kashmir and co-founder of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. He was hanged on February 11, 1984 in Tihar Jail in New Delhi after his conviction on two murder charges.
On 14 September 1966, Maqbool was accused to be the part of JKNLF Militants, who were accused of ambushing police. One Militant “Aurangzeb” was killed. Also dead was Amar Chand, an Inspector of the local Crime Branch CID. Maqbool Bhat and Kala Khan were arrested for the murder.As, Bhat was also accused of being involved in the shootout, and was found guilty and subsequently sentenced to death. In 1968, Bhat, along with two others, managed to dig a tunnel under the Srinagar prison, and escape to Pakistan, where they were briefly arrested.
In 1971,Bhat was accused of masterminding the hijacking of a Passenger Airline to Lahore, Pakistan,and the hijackers declared affiliation with JKLF under the leadership of Bhat. The Pakistani authorities then arrested Bhat and a number of others. He was released in 1974, and two years later, Bhat sneaked into India where he was soon captured.
His earlier death sentence was still valid, and he petitioned to the President of India Giyani Zail Singh for clemency on the grounds of an unfair trial. On February 3, 1984, an Indian diplomat in UK named Ravindra Mhatre was kidnapped in Birmingham. A demand of release of Maqbool Bhat was put forward by the kidnappers. On February 6, 1984, JKLF members were believed to have murdered the Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre, in Birmingham, England. After this, Bhat’s petition for clemency was rejected, and Bhat was executed in the Tihar Jail in New Delhi on February 11, 1984 and buried in the Jail premises
Five years after Bhat’s hanging, the JKLF launched a militant movement for separation of the Muslim-majority state Jammu and Kashmir from India. Since his death, the JKLF has been demanding that the mortal remains of the party founder, which were buried inside the Tihar Jail, be handed over. Separatist leaders also call for shutdown each year, which is observed in the Valley to mark his death anniversary.JKLF announced a ceasefire in 1994.
On November 4, 1989, JKLF militants shot dead judge Neelkanth Ganjoo, who had presided over the Amar Chand murder trial and had sentenced Maqbul Bhat to death.