KASHMIR’S UNSUNG HEROES: Muhammad Amin Siddiqui, alias Turki

When Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah became the head of the state’s emergency administration, a young man was beaten up ruthlessly by National Conference toughs at Dabtal, Aali Kadal.

He was also bound hand and foot, tied to a sturdy horse, and the animal set galloping with fierce whipping. It raced towards the Maharaj Gunj police station, dragging the youth behind, and the cruelly injured victim was taken into custody and subjected to further torture.

This was how Muhammad Amin Siddiqui, alias Turki, began suffering for his political stand.

Born in 1910 into a middle-class family in Dabtal, Siddiqui grew up an extremely intelligent youth, with mind enriched in the company of his elders.

When Mirwaiz Maulana Yusuf Shah introduced Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah formally to the public at the Jamia Masjid in 1931, Siddiqui was instantly enraptured, admiring the latter for his boldness.

Sheikh Abdullah too grew fond of the young man and named him Turki.

Siddiqui was arrested in early 1931, and sent to the Central Jail in Srinagar.

On being released, he became active again, and worked hard with Chaudhry Abbas, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Abd-us-Salam Dalal and others.

In 1939, when the Muslim Conference was converted into the National Conference, he broke his association with Sheikh Abdullah, and served as the parent party’s secretary for the Gurgari Mohalla halqa.

After his arrest in 1947 by the Maharaj Gunj police, Siddiqui had been handed over to the Special Staff that operated from the Kothi Bagh police station where he was tortured ruthlessly.

According to Inayatullah Siddiqui, his son, the officer in charge of the police station forced hot potatoes into Turki’s mouth.

“He also hit him repeatedly in the chest, which later caused him severe illnesses.”

Turki was sent to Jammu Jail and detained for four years, but refused to come out on parole or bail, notwithstanding his failing health.

Finally, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghulam Muhammad Bakhshi, ordered his release. His long years in jail almost destroyed his family. His wife and children had to live extreme in poverty. His wife died when only 35, and he himself contracted asthma.

Others in his family too were persecuted by National Conference workers. His brother, Muhammad Shafi, was stabbed, forcing him to migrate to Pakistan along with his wife and five-year-old daughter.

When Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was dismissed in 1953, Bakhshi, who became the Prime Minister, sent Ghulam Rasool Nazki to draw Turki in.

But he refused to join hands with the new forces.

Despite his failing health, he took active part in 1953 anti-India movement. The ground work for launching the Plebiscite Front, of which he became an active member, was laid at Turki’s home.

He was arrested once again, and kept prisoner at the Central Jail, but his precarious health forced the government to release him within ten days.

By that time he had deteriorated considerably, and his kidneys were not functioning normally.

By the time he was released from prison, his health had considerably deteriorated. His kidneys were not functioning normally.

Muhammad Amin Siddiqui passed away in 1960. He was only fifty.

In 1986, the government asked his son to receive the freedom fighters’ pension on his father’s behalf, but he refused.

 “I cannot accept it to insult the sacrifices offered by my father,” he said.