During a conversation some time before his passing away in Srinagar, Muhammad Yusuf Khan, a committed Muslim Conference worker till his last breath, described the rousing reception Muhammad Ali Jinnah received in Kashmir:
“Even in Varmul, people greeted him with Pakistan Zindabad slogans. But at Boniyar, Maqbool Sherwani and a couple of goons pelted stones on his motorcade. The incident was blown out of proportion by the Indian press.” The next year, when Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress leaders visited the Valley, the National Conference took them in a boat rally up the Jhelum from Chattabal Weir to Lal Chowk.
“We were very angry over the Boniyar incident, and were geared to take revenge,” Khan went on. “We raised black flags on both banks of the Jhelum, and when Nehru came, people shouted ‘Nehru, Go Back.’ The National Conference leadership was embarrassed.”
“I was waiting along with my associates at the Sheikh Musa Ghat in Zaina Kadal. When the boats carrying Nehru and others passed by, we pulled down our trousers.
“We had also collected night soil from nearby latrines, and threw it at them.”
Rampage followed. National Conference toughs, led by Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad, entered the Gadyar Masjid and killed one Salam Sheikh. He was a Mirwaiz supporter, but the NC surprisingly owned him, and put the blame of his murder on Abd-us-Salam Dalal, who had to spend one year in jail until released on the orders of the High Court.
Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi strongly disapproved of the trouser-and-night-soil protests of his workers.
Boarding a tonga along with Muhammad Ismail Sagar, he rushed to pacify them, but was caught by NC activists near the Siraj Bazaar police post, and stabbed in the chest, abdomen and back.
Believing him to be dead, the activists stuffed his body into a sack and threw it into the Jhelum near Zaina Kadal.
Luckily, the police spotted the floating bundle shortly afterwards.
Found still breathing, Qureshi was rushed to hospital.
When Sheikh Abdullah came visiting late in the evening, he was annoyed to see Muslim Conference workers around the patient. “Is he still alive?” he shouted, and left fuming.
Qureshi survived the deadly attack.
A year prior to Sheikh Abdullah’s Quit Kashmir Movement, Qureshi had, in a speech at Syed Ali Akbar (Fateh Kadal), urged the Maharaja to leave Kashmir.
Anyway, when the Movement was launched, the slogan seemed to draw the NC and the MC close, striking strong chords in both. But the Maharaja’s Prime Minister frustrated the efforts through his brother, Amar Nath Kak, who was an advocate, and some journalists.
Mirwaiz Molvi Yusuf Shah strongly opposed the movement, causing consternation in the Muslim Conference.
Qureshi informed Jinnah of the development through a wire, saying “Save Kashmir from Congress Tactics.”
—to be continued