Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi – IV

Taken aback by Mirwaiz Maulana Yusuf Sahib’s unexpected opposition to the Quit Kashmir Movement, Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi resigned as general secretary of the Muslim Conference, in protest.

In his statement to the press, he said, “The Quit Kashmir Movement is basically the movement of the majority community. This movement could unite the Muslims, but some leaders of the Muslim Conference want to frustrate it for their petty political interests. As a matter of principle, supporting such a movement is binding on the Muslim Conference. I, therefore, resign from the post of General Secretary in protest.”

Because of his active support to the movement, Qureshi had to go underground for some time, during which Mohi-ud-Din Karra sent him a messenger asking for a meeting in the interests of the stir.

He readily agreed, notwithstanding advice to the contrary from his worker, Muhammad Yusuf Khan.

When they met, Karra persuaded Qureshi to go to Lahore to muster support for Quit Kashmir. He left for Rawalpindi in April 1946, but was arrested near Shalteng and immediately sent to the Central Jail in Srinagar.

His arrest was the greatest setback to the Muslim Conference.

When released one-and-a-half years later, he plunged into resurrecting the party. The National Conference government tried to persuade him  to join the administration, but he refused, and Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq, who was then the acting Chief Administrator, ordered him to be jailed. The ailing Qureshi was first held for twenty days at the Kothi Bagh police station and later shifted to Reasi Jail.

Some time afterwards, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah set him free.

When Qureshi came out of prison, the United Nations had passed its historic resolution of August 13, 1948. The Muslim Conference formed a Plebiscite Board, with him at its head.

Its activities received wide coverage in local, Indian and the international media, and Qureshi was arrested again, this time in Kani Kadal from the house of one Ghulam Hasan Khan. The police party that carried out the arrest was led by one Rampal, a city munsif.

Qureshi was immediately whisked off to Reasi Jail, then shifted to the Central Jail in Jammu, and finally externed.

Across, he resumed political activity with Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, and also got married while in Rawalpindi.

Muhammad Yusuf Qureshi passed away in 1976.


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