IN THE WAKE OF SEPTEMBER WAR THE NEW GENERATION GETS IN
The greatest headache of the politically alert sections of my generation was how to get the new generation—our children—involved in the struggle for the State's accession to Pakistan. Some of them were infants at the time of partition and most of them were born later. They had no personal knowledge of the epic struggle Muslims launched for its establishment or the one launched for securing basic political, economic and religious rights, by their preceding generations in the State. Just as Indian Hindus' lack of vision in arriving at a respectable agreement with Muslims to safeguard their rights and re-move their fears, ultimately led to the partition of their Bharat Mata, similarly, the same lack of vision even after partition, both in India as well as Kashmir, inducted the new generation into the epic struggle. We thank them for their unintended generosity.
The frequent and organised anti-Muslim riots in India, the economic distress of Muslims and their reduction to a political nonentity, non-recruitment of Muslims into centrally-administered departments, inability of the State administration, for fear of offending the Hindu Establishment at New Delhi, to bring Muslim representation in Services at par with their population ratio, continuation of the Dogra policy to keep Kashmiri Muslims away from the Army, a deliberately-pursued policy of discrediting and defaming their leaders, one after the other, Sheikh Abdullah, Bakhshi, Masudi, Beg, etc, the arrogance and ruler-phobia of Indian civil as well as military officers as if Kashmiri Muslims were a subject race and the repression and terror let
loose even on slight dissent, contributed more than any other factor, to the indoctrination of the new generation. As it was brought up amidst these bitter surroundings, the feeling of being enslaved got ingrained in their blood. The opening of a university in Srinagar in 1948, resulted in turning out hundreds of graduates every year. Most of the Muslim graduates remained unemployed. By 1965 their number rose to thousands. Thus by 1965 a whole new generation of ycuth appeared to be poised to plunge into the struggle. The Algerian's successful struggle for freedom, the Vietnamese war against the mighty U.S.A. and the know-ledge that after all, India was militarily insignificant as compared to France or the U.S.A., was re-assuring.
It was just in time that a few hundred ill-trained guerrillas crossed the Cease-fire line. Their surprise and unobstructed entry, the rapid defeat of Indians in their fortified positions at Chhamb and Jaurian, the air superiority of PAF and the Chinese ultimatum electrified Muslims. On 29th September, thousands of students, after adopting the following resolution, marched in a procession to present it at the U. N. HQ Srinagar:
"We shall fight in the schools, we shall fight in the colleges, we shall fight in the streets, we shall fight in the villages, we shall fight in the towns, but we shall never submit before the Might of Indian imperialism. Either we shall perish or justice will triumph."
On 7th October a handgrenade was thrown on student demonstrators, injuring several students; to add insult to injury, 70 students were arrested. The occupation forces set fire to the whole block of six shops from Book Corner to the Friends Hotel and Restaurant—mostly frequented by students. Police opened fire in Srinagar on October 10 to disperse a mammoth crowd of angry demonstrators, protesting against the arrest of Maulvi Muhammad Farooq and others. A dusk to dawn curfew was imposed. According to Reuter, D. P. Dhar, Home Minister conceded to reporters the death of one person in the firing. Said Mr. Dhar:
"There has been evidence that some armed Pakistani infiltrators had sought hiding places in the town and were continuing their subversive activities directly or through their paid agents. Some handgrenades and explosives had been captured by Indian Security Forces from some Pakistani agents who gave shelter to raiders and that there was evidence that certain elements were maintaining close liaison with these radiers."1
On 12th October, there were two violent clashes in Srinagar between pro-Plebiscite demonstrators and the Police, resulting in the killing of three demonstrators and injuries to a large number. A handgrenade was hurled at a police party, killing one policeman and injuring a civilian. Islamabad observed a complete hartal. Mr. Sadiq flew to New Delhi and went straight to the Prime Minister's house for a conference. On 13th October, the demonstrations continued and there was hartal in Srinagar, Shopian, Bij-Bihara, Sopore, Baramula and other towns. A per-son injured by handgrenade a day earlier, died in the hospital. Mr. Klaus Natorp, foreign Editor of the leading German newspaper, Frank-Furter AlI-Gemeinel wrote from Srinagar that 10,000 people, mainly students, took part in the demonstration before Hazratbal mosque on Saturday afternoon demanding a plebiscite and that there was a clash with units of the police who were stoned by the students. According to Mr. Klaus, police opened fire resulting in 22 casualties. He also testified that at least 30,000 policemen and soldiers had turned Srinagar into a huge army camp; a 24-hour curfew was imposed and 400 people, mostly students, were arrested. The New York Times carried a news from its Srinagar correspondent that the girl students of the city had for the past two weeks been staging demonstrations shouting 'Indian Dogs Go Home', 'Long Live Pakistan' and 'Long Live Chou-En-Lai'. The trouble started in the morning assembly when Principal of the Government College for Women, Miss Mahmooda Ahmed Ali sharply criticised Pakistan and President Ayub over the Kashmir war. The girls protested and in retaliation, the Principal and several Professors pulled the hair of several girls and slapped them. Outraged, over a hundred girls marched to the Red-Square shouting pro-Pakistan slogans. The news spread fast and thousands of students from other institutions spear-headed by those from the Engineering and Medical, Colleges joined them and paraded the streets, demanding withdrawal of Indian Army and accession to Pakistan. On 14th October, the old State Secretariat building, Shergarhi, was set on fire which raged for two hours causing extensive damage. The B.B.C. called it, by far, the boldest attack. One block was completely burnt down. The B. B. C. also reported that the Indian army was burning villages on the pretext of search for the guerillas. Special correspondent of Reuters, Mr. Michael Neale, cabled from Srinagar on October 16 that Srinagar Police wielding steel-tipped staves broke up two student demonstrations, led by girl students as they continued their agitation for a plebiscite. There were two lathi charges, one outside the Medical College and the other outside a Government High School resulting in several casualties. Several students were arrested. The students had boycotted their classes now for the 12th day. The correspondent also reported that groups of anti-India students stopped foreign correspondents in the streets and handed them straps of paper reading "our demand is plebiscite", ".We want direct accession to Pakistan", "We shall die and live for Pakistan". An official spokesman admitted in Srinagar the same evening that two persons had been injured in an explosion near a mosque. Mr. J. Anthony Lukas of the New York Times Has able to have a secret meeting with a leader of the girl students. Wrote Mr. Lukas:
"She is 18-years old and very shy; kneeling on a Kashmiri rug, this morning, she blushed through her gauze shawl as she poured the visitor a cup of tea. Yet only five days ago she stood on the stage of Jamia Mosque here and shouted 'Indian Dogs Go Home', 'Long Live Pakistan'. For two weeks she and other Muslim girls at the college have played significant roles ii the new wave of agitation that has been sweeping this Himalayan city. In a cramped upstairs bedroom, the girl was brushing her long black hair by the window. At first she was too shy to talk despite repeated encouragement from her father, a paunchy merchant in Astrakhan caps. Then in a sudden rush of girlish enthusiasm she poured out her story. We Muslims here are tired of the Indian rule, she said. We want to be with Pakistan."
The leading French newspaper, Le Monde's New Delhi correspondent wrote in a despatcht that Srinagar city looked like an "entrenched camp" and that "at every crossing there stood soldiers and regular police force." The paper wrote:
"A manifesto published by the students compares Indian police with Gestapo and declares the situation in Kashmir worse than in a Nazi concentration camp, and goes as far as saying that Eichmann's tragedy is being again enacted in Srinagar. The manifesto eventually finds inspiration in the words of Mr. Bhutto who lately announced Pakistan's determination to fight India for a thousand years, if need be and concludes that the youth of Kashmir would be ready to fight the war for one thousand years against the present regime in the country."
There were further demonstrations in Srinagar and several parts of Kashmir valley on 20th October in violation of a ban on the assembly of more than five persons. I I demonstrators were arrested. On the morning of 2!st October, according to PTI, 26 leaders of the pro-Pakistan movement including Maulana Masudi and Ghualm Mohi-ud-Din
1. 13th October, 1965.
Kara was arrested in the early hours of dawn under the Defence of India Rules. A meeting of the Plebiscite Front held in Srinagar on 21st October, according to AFP, called upon Kashmiris to continue their struggle for self-determination. A large number of youth were arrested, some of whom were placed in Interrogation camps. For instance:
"A 20-year-old student, Salim Anwar, was kept for two months at the infamous Interrogation centre in Jammu near Satwari. One of his family members managed to see him and found to his horror that his wrists were swollen. He told him that he was kept standing for days with handcuffs on in such position that he could not even move his body. He also stated that he was ruthlessly beaten by the CRP guard and was in half-swooned state when he heard the CID people talking "'if this student dies due to torture we shall shoot him and we will say that he had tried to run away."
Similarly, another was heard saying, he explained, that, "we would keep live electric wires near so that we could say later that he electrocuted himself."
An 18-year-old student of lslamia College, Srinagar, Muhammad Manzoor, was tortured at another Interrogation centre, Gupkar-I6. He was made to lie on gravel with his naked body and live cinders of charcoal were kept in his armpits. Needles were thrust under his nails to force the student to say something.
Iqbal Shahmiri was tortured at the same Interrogation centre for days together. He explained that his belly was tramped by sentry guards which resulted in intestine swelling. He was later released on parole on medical grounds.
Habibullah Soofi of Amar Singh College was tortured at another Interrogation centre known as Bagh-i-Mehtab. He was made to stand round-the-clock and put to starvation for a week.
A young girl, Shahina Tajia of Government Women's College, Srinagar, was kept for 12 days at the Bagh-i-Mehtab Interrogation centre, and was subjected to round-the-clock interrogation. She was one of the patriots who stood the beating and fire brigade water in Lal Chowk. She was picked up at the instance of Miss Mahmuda.
Another girl student, Sharifa Qureshi, was placed under house arrest for two months and her name was struck off from the College roll."1
I. The Pakistan Times, 31-12-1966.
In March, 1966, several arrests were made in Srinagar including those of Mr. Muhammad Yasin Sadiq, Sheikh Muhammad Hussain and Mr. Ghulam Rasool Beg, acting Presidents respectively of the Plebiscite Front, the Holy Relic Committee and the Awami Action Committee. On 16th May, 1966, when Sadiq visited Baramula, a grenade exploded just a few steps from him. One person was killed on the spot and 30 injured. The death toll, according to Reuter, rose to three by the next day. In another incident, the Polytechnic Institute Srinagar was reduced to ashes. Mr. Sadiq told press correspondents that the agents were equipped with assassin's pistols, three of whom were allegedly seized. IS persons were arrested.
In April, 1967 Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was shifted to New Delhi and at the same time interned within the four walls of his prison house. The same month when Begum Sheikh Abdullah returned to Srinagar after a forced absence of three years, she received such an unprecedented and emotion-charged welcome which according to THOUGHT New Delhi,'even Deities' would envy .l In October 1967, according to Reuter, 64 workers of the Plebiscite Front were arrested in Kashmir in one week. Among them was Mufti Muhammad Bashir-ud-Din, the Grand-Mufti of the State.
Maulana Masudi and Khawaja Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Kara were released in December 1967. Two Indian soldiers were killed on the outskirts of Srinagar on 30th October, 1965. A handgrenade was stated to have been thrown on them. 35 persons were arrested. Air India cancelled its flights for Srinagar from 7th October. Kashmir government suspended the publication of Martand and Nawa-e-Kashmiras well as of four weeklies including Roshni and Naujawan. Sardar Sant Singh Teg of Baramula and President of the All Sikh Party, blamed Hindus for the situation. The Economist London wrote on 28th October 1967:
"There are large military camps in and around all the main cities. Armoured troops perform regular duties in all urban areas and are invariably called in to deal with the civil disturbances. Kashmir looks like an occupied territory."
In March 1967, 23 prominent men were arrested and detained in the Mehtab Bagh Interrogation Centre. Among them were four College teachers. Gulzar Muhammad Khan, Shahzad Khan, Nasrullah Khan, Ahmed Ghani and Rustam Dar of village Hai Hama, tehsil Handwara were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for political activities.
In January 1970, Sheikh Abdullah presented a cheque for Rs. 50,000 to Mr. Sajjad Haider, Pakistan High Commissioner for relief of East Pakistan
1. Weekly Insaf, 3rd August 1967.
Cyclone-hit people. This amount had been collected in Srinagar a few days before. While he was still in Delhi, he was served with a notice prohibiting him from returning to the State. A similar notice was served on Mr. Afzal Beg. When it became known in Srinagar, there was a State-wide protest. Business was suspended, processions taken out and public meetings held condemning the action of the Government and demanding its immediate withdrawal. There were several clashes between the demonstrators and the police. According to official accounts, the number of arrests was 350. 50 persons, 20 of them seriously, were injured when police tear-gassed and lathi-charged a big procession in Srinagar. According to Radio Pakistan,7 persons including two students were killed and 200 injured when police opened fire at several places in Srinagar on 9th January. The number of arrests in Islamabad district alone was stated to be about 500. Pakistan officially informed important foreign countries of the situation. In the movement resulting from the prohibitory orders passed against Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, three Muslims were killed and 27 injured in Gulmarg. According to AFP, by the 19th, the number of arrests had reached 450. Radio Pakistan announced on March 15 that two persons were killed and 17 injured in Srinagar when a crowd stopped a van carrying political prisoners and demanded their release. It also said that one Brigadier Mehta ordered the firing. In May 1967, 150 persons were arrested under the DIR, out of whom 138 were accused of conspiracy and subversive activities.