Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi – I

Born in 1913, Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi was the son of Ahmad Shah Qureshi of Zaindaar Mohalla, and an early entrant into politics, having joined the Muslim Conference soon after graduating from college.

He had founded the Young Man’s Muslim Association, with Ghulam Rasool Najar of Kursoo Rajbagh as its president, which began work from the Mujahid Manzil, the headquarters of the Muslim Conference.

Though the Association had the support of MC leaders like Maulana Masoodi, Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Hamadani and others, Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi was its soul.

It came into the limelight when the government dismissed Hakim Habibullah, a police officer, who was an active Muslim Conference supporter.

Following strong protests from the Association, demonstrations were held in the city, and a massive agitation ensued.

Taken by surprise, Dogra rulers responded by arresting hundreds of people, including scores of Association members.

The agitation spread to other parts of the state.  Mirwaiz Ahmadullah Hamadani was exiled after he delivered a fiery speech at the Khanaqah-e-Mu’alla.

Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad was also arrested for supporting the stir, and Maulana Masoodi, Muhammad Maqbool Baihaqi, Sadr-ud-Din Buch (Mujahid) exiled.

Qureshi formed a War Council to take the agitation forward

Dictators were directed to take out processions from the Khanaqah-e-Mu’alla to Fateh Kadal after addressing people and court arrest along with their supporters.

This continued for quite some time.

But after their turn at the Khanaqah stage, Qureshi and Mohi-ud-Din Karra managed to dodge the police, and reappeared the next day when the Association had scheduled to take the dictators in a boat rally from the Khanaqah shrine.

After delivering their speeches, they vanished from the scene again, and were later seen heading the boat rally.

The government chased them in motorboats.

Several boats in the rally capsized. Qureshi and Karra fell into the river, and kept themselves submerged for some time.

Fearing that they had drowned, watching crowds chanted slogans against Dogra rulers.

When the duo surfaced to breathe, they were arrested.

Both were sentenced to one year in jail.

-to be continued