Defiant weavers died of Tuberculosis, hunger in JK jails

SRINAGAR: The Dogra rulers chose to crush the shawl weaver’s movement brutally. After killing twenty-eight weavers on Hajj Rather Summ bridge on april 29, the Dogra soldiers arrested a number of weavers including their leaders. Besides Sheikh Rasool and Abli Baba, Ali Paul, Rasool Sheikh, Quda Lala and Sona Shah were also taken into custody and sent to Jammu jails on May 1, 1865.
Ali Paul and Rasool Sheikh died of tuberculosis in Ram Nagar Jail. Quda Lala and Sona Shah met the same fate. Nobody knows how the first martyrs of Trade Union Movement were treated.
The ordinary weavers who were arrested succumbed to disease and starvation in various jails of the state.
No charge sheet was produced in any court. No enquiry was constituted. The inaction of the government only encouraged the army and the bureaucracy.
The brutality shown by the Dogra rulers scared the shawl weavers. The movement died down. Some of the weavers migrated secretly to Panjab, others continued to suffer.
The next strike by workers in Kashmir was staged after six decades in 1924. This time the Silk Factory workers challenged the rulers. Once again the ruler’s response was brutal. Some precious lives were lost.
Very few people know about the huge sacrifice offered by the weavers. The strike could not culminate into a movement because there were no leaders left to guide the weavers.