Raja Jehangir Khan.died unsung

When Sheikh Abdullah signed the Indira- Abdullah Accord in 1975 he urged Jehangir to join him in his new pursuit. Jehangir flatly refused and termed his new posture as beginning of Awaragardi (waywardness) rather than Izzat-o-Aabru ka Muqaam (respectability)

On April 14, 1989 Kashmir lost a valiant soldier. He was laid to rest at Bagh-e-Mehtab. A few people attended his funeral. The people, by and large, remained unaware of the great son who had just left for his eternal abode. The deceased was Raja Jehangir Khan.

Raja’s ancestors belonged to Mirpur. The family because of its political influence had been entrusted with some important positions in administration by the rulers of Kashmir. Jehangir assumed a new avatar when the Indian army arrived in Kashmir. Like Kashmiri Muslims, the Punjabi-speaking Muslims hated Indian rule in Kashmir. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah who played the typical Zulchu in those fateful days did not like the dissidents. Every possible step was taken to persecute them.

Some were externed, some had to migrate to various parts of Pakistan or Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK). Jehangir’s family also was forced to migrate to Pakistan. Some of the family members were banished and those who stayed back could not digest the arrangement and worked for the liberation of Kashmir.

Fort several years Jehangir tried to mobilise public opinion. In 1948 a militant outfit, Hyderi Column was launched. Jehangir Khan of Bagh-e-Mehtab was one of the founders of this outfit. Very few people know about the role of this valiant soldier of Kashmir. However, the noted historian, Rashid Taseer makes a detailed mention of him in his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat-e-Kashmir, Vol 4 page 133.  

According to Taseer, “The outfit (Hyderi Column) was launched by people from across the ceasefire line. Arms and ammunition were smuggled into the valley through Raja Ahsen and Raja Ataullah of Zachaldara.  Jehangir played a vital role in its formation. However, for some time he remained silent. Meanwhile, an ex-serviceman, Jalal, was entrusted the job of imparting training to the members of the outfit. The police came to know about some ammunition dumped at Zachaldara through one Muhammad Husain, Ahsan and Ataullah were arrested. The police also came to know about arms and ammunition stored in the house of Brigadier Rehmatullah Khan of Doodh Pathri. Khan wrote a letter to Jehangir urging him to facilitate Jalal’s border cross. He took him to Pakistan administered Kashmir and handed him over to Pakistan army. The army officer who received them was highly impressed by Jehangir’s courage and conviction. He requested him to get all the members of Hyderi Column to Azad Kashmir.  He crossed the border several times in this connection.  When Ataullah Khan’s house was searched at Dood Pathri, Jehangir Khan and another member of the outfit were there.  However, they evaded arrest and went across the border.”

According to family sources, Jehangir was implicated in the Kashmir Conspiracy Case along with Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. “It was a false charge as Jehangir was in detention during those days for dumping arms and ammunition at Reyar”, they said.

Jehangir never made a mention of inhuman torture he was subjected to in state run torture chambers. It was only after his release that the family members saw marks of torture on his body. “The government tried its best to persuade Jehangir to be a witness against Sheikh Abdullah but he refused. This only added to his woes but he did not succumb.
Jehangir remained in perpetual detention. One of the cases against him was filed on June 23, 1964 under section 3 Enemy Agents Ordinance for procuring deadly bombs to destabilise the government. The case was finally dismissed on May 30, 1968. The verdict of the court reflects how Jehangir was persecuted by involving him in fictitious cases.     

The learned judge held: “I have gone through the evidence adduced by the prosecution. None of the prosecution witnesses has supported the prosecution story. In fact there is nothing on record to show that any prosecution witness had referred to a conspiracy to which the accused was a party. There is no material on file on the basis of which it can be proved that the accused was responsible for import of explosive material from Pakistan into the territory of state with the intention of subverting the government established by law. The prosecution has not been able to produce any explosive material although a number of opportunities were given to prosecution for this purpose and a number of letters were addressed to the concerned authorities in this behalf. I am of the opinion that the prosecution has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused. This is not a case in which, in my opinion any charge is required to be framed against the accused.”

When Sheikh Abdullah signed the Indra- Abdullah Accord in 1975 he urged Jehangir to join him in his new pursuit. Jehangir flatly refused and termed his new posture as beginning of Awaragardi (waywardness) rather than Izzat-o-Aabru ka Muqaam (respectability).
Feed back at din.zahir@gmail.com