KASHMIR’S UNSUNG HEROES: Muhammad Yusuf Khan – V

Muslim Conference workers in Srinagar decided to hold a ghaibana namaz-e-jenaza (funeral prayers in absentia) when news arrived on September 11, 1948, that Muhammad Ali Jinnah had passed away.

Again, it was Muhammad Yusuf Khan who took the initiative:
“I contacted Muhammad Iqbal Chapri (another MC worker), and asked him to rush to the Mirwaiz Manzil. Surprisingly, when I got there with some other workers, those who called themselves mujahids ran away.

“They were too scared to announce the Quaid’s passing away.

“When Chapri arrived, I told him to hire a tonga (horse-drawn carriage) and go around the upper city from Gagribal with the news, and also announce that the namaz-e-jenaza would be held at the Jamia Masjid.

“I also took a tonga, and began from the Nawa Kadal area.

“Women came out of their houses beating their foreheads and pulling at their hair.

“As we came to Zaina Kadal at round two in the afternoon, we were intercepted by the police.

“I was taken into custody along with my companion, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din.

“The tonga-driver was let off after only a tongue-lashing.

“Strangely enough, I was spared a beating.
“The police officer in charge probably took me for a Punjabi. He led me to his room, and also made arrangements for my lunch.
“It was here that I learnt that Chapri too had been arrested.

“When I saw him (Chapri) later, he had blood on his face. He had been severely beaten.

“I asked him about it.

“He merely smiled, saying that he had felt no pain.

“He also spoke of the widespread grief and shock at the news of the Quaid’s death.

“The police let me go at 5 o’clock, but Chapri was detained.

-to be continued