April 4, 1979: ‘When ‘ill-informed’ people went on a rampage in Kashmir’

KL Report

SRINAGAR

The 36th death anniversary of former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was observed on Saturday. Bhutto was hanged to death in April 4, 1979 when General Zai-ul-Haq was ruling the country. The ‘day’ (April 4, 1979) when Bhutto was hanged in Pakistan is still haunting the supporters and leaders of socio-religious organization Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir. That day scores of residential houses of Jammat-e-Islami were either ransacked, looted or set on fire.

Narrating the sordid happenings of that day, then JeI leader in South Kashmir, Mir Sanaullah said that everywhere people mostly supporters of National Conference took to streets against the hanging of Bhutto and attacked JeI supporters in every nook and corner. “I still remember it was Wednesday and for three days the assaults and attacks on JeI workers continued. Frenzy mobs left no stone unturned to inflict maximum damage on the Jammat cadre,” he said.

Octogenarian Mir blamed NC founder late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah for the rampage. “Sheikh instigated people, especially his supporters who were ‘naïve’ and failed to comprehend the reality. He (Sheikh Abdullah) misinformed his supporters and lied to them that then Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Mian Tufeel is the maternal uncle of General Zia-ul-Haq. This infuriated people and without ascertaining the facts, they started carrying attacks on JeI cadre,” Mir told CNS.

A resident of Kujar Kulgam, Mir said that frenzy mob set 9 houses of JeI supporters on fire. “My house was razed to ground. The houses of my friends especially Ghulam Muhammad Dar, Muhammad Khalil Dar, Abdul Rehman Dar were first looted and then put on fire. All the JeI cadre and their family members went underground. I myself hid in a nearby village,” he said.

He said that it were not only National Conference supporters but common people mostly youth barely knowing the ABC of reality looted and destroyed the residential houses and beat JeI supporters mercilessly. “The mob put a Jammat supporter to death and continuously targeted us for three days from Wednesday to Friday,” he said and added that MLA Jammat-e-Islami Abdul Razaq Mir suffered heavily at the hands of the frenzy mob.

“All the trees of the MLA’s orchard’s were cut down by the mob. His house was looted at Bichru Kulgam while at Arwani Kulgam Jammat Supporters were chased and humiliated by the protesting people led by National Conference leaders,” he said.

A Jammat supporter from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Abdul Rahim said that several houses were looted by mob and property worth crores were destroyed. “The mob was led by a politician who later made it to the Legislative Council during NC-Congress coalition Government in 2012.”

Another Jamaat-e-Islami leader who wished not to be named said that the consequences of Bhutto’s execution proved fatal for them in 1979. “People were instigated and protected by the government then. Today the same people repent and feel ashamed of themselves for what they did then. The attacks on us were politically motivated. Those people who attacked on us and abused and accused Zia for murdering Bhutto beat their chest on the sudden death of Zia and the irony is that few people died at Batamaloo area of Srinagar city on the next day of Zia’s death in plane crash,” he said.

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