The agitation spearheaded by the Young Man’s Muslim Association unnerved Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who exercised his influence over the youth and made them abandon it.
Later, he used his good offices to strike a deal between it (the Association) and the government.
Dismayed by the creation of the National Conference in 1939, Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi opposed the Sheikh openly. After consulting Maulana Masoodi and Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad, who also opposed the conversion, he decided to remove the NC flag from the Mujahid Manzil.
He got in touch with his associates, and he fixed a date to carry out the plan. Qureshi was sitting in the Mujahid Manzil lawns when the group of youth – Ghulam Ahmad Parra of Zaindaar Mohalla, Hakim Muhammad Maqbool, then the associate editor of the Payaam, Peerzada Ali Shah (who later became the acting president of the Political Conference), Haji Ghulam Muhammad Mir of Reshi Mohalla, Ghulam Nabi Mir, Ghulam Rasool Najar of Kursoo Rajbagh, Ali Muhammad of Rajbagh and Nizam-ud-Din Chisti of Gojwara, arrived on the scene. Parra removed the NC’s colours and replaced it with a green flag sporting a crescent and star.
Sheikh Abdullah’s face fell when he saw the changed environment at the Mujahid Manzil.
Though Qureshi left the historic building for good, never to return, he managed to take along a file holding important records of the Muslim Conference.
Soon after, when the need for reviving the Muslim Conference was felt, Qureshi launched the weekly Paighaam, running it from a rented room at Shaheed Gunj. Later, the paper was shifted to Zaindaar Mohalla, and the Muslim Conference also began afresh from the same building.
Qureshi then wrote to Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, expressing his displeasure over converting the Muslim Conference into the National Conference and what he described as the ‘shameless silence of saner elements’ in the organization.
In reply, Abbas suggested reviving the original party. Old contacts were re-activated and some new faces brought in. Qureshi was fortunate enough to have a whole group of young and energetic students who infused new life in the organization. By 1944, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir, the Muslim Conference had become a vibrant party once again.
-to be continued