Sanity and Madness on 13th
against Kashmiri Hindus and Khatri traders was a pre-planned move by the leaders of
13th July agitation and their sponsors - the British
Hindus became victims of
the mad frenzy in Vicharnag, Maharajganj,
Khankah Mohalla, in Srinagar city and at
Shopian and Anantnag towns.
The events which took
place in Khankah mohalla reveal an interesting
pattern. While the members of the majority community
displayed strong communal passions when they came to
attack Pandits, the immediate neighbours
played a positive role.
Five Pandit families lived
in Khankah mohalla, opposite the Kali Shrine.
These families included three families of Kouls -
Ram Nath, Nilakanth and Rughnath. They were all
cousins. The other two families - Niranjan Nath
Wali and Dina Nath Wali lived jointly.
Soon after looting Khatri
shops in Maharajgunj the big mob turned to
Khankah Mohalla to attack Kashmiri Hindus. The
neighbours of the Pandit families - Gh. Mohammad
Qalinbaf and Ahad Sakka (water carrier) rose
to the occasion and decided not to betray their
neighbours with whom they had been living through
generations. At the suggestion of these neighbours the
Kouls hid themselves in attic storey (Brer Kani)
of the house. Sakka had asked Kouls to throw
some household refuse on the verandah and keep
windows and doors open to mislead the rioters.
The Pandits, on hearing about the atrocities in other
parts of the city were gripped with fear. Ram Nath recalls, "we tied our womenfolk with rope lest they escape
out of fear. We had also decided to poison
them to death in case an eventuality of kidnapping/molestation
When looters came, the
families of Ahad Sakka and Qalinbaff told them
that Pandits fled from their home on learning that the
mob was on way to attack them. To keep rioters in
good humour, Sakka and Qalinbaff mockingly
abused Pandits and succeeded in turning the mob away.
The mob stood for 25-30 minutes at
Neighbours of Walis also
tried to save Walis but the mob had its way.
Niranjan Nath Wali was an affluent person. Some
people in the mob owed him money. They succeeded
in instigating the frenzied mob to attack Niranjan and
loot his property.
After the looters left,
Kouls shifted to the house of Ahad Sakka and stayed
there for three days. This was the fortnight when
Hindus observe shraddas of their departed near and
dear ones. Members of the Koul family would
stealthily during the night go to their home, prepare food
and come back. At Sakka's home they took only pears
3 days later Kouls shifted
to Chinkral mohalla first and later to Sathu
Barbarshah where Ramnath's aunt lived. Nilakanth Koul
served in Police Department.
He shifted his family to
police lines. Such was the terror that
Ramnath's family was brought back to Chinkral Mohalla
in a special police van, nicknamed by locals as
'Rat Trap'. The Kouls never went back to live in the
Mohalla where they had lived for centuries. They
sold their house to Gh. Mohammad Qalinbaf in 1932.
This in itself is an indicator of the terror
created by the events of 13th July.