Pt. Jia Lal Warikoo's Martyrdom
PANDIT JIA LAL WARIKOO son of Pt. Tika Lal Warikoo lived near
Girls School, Fatehkadal, Srinagar. He did his B.Sc. from
B.T. from Banaras Hindu University in 1937. Late Sh. D.N. Raina, a renowned
teacher and Headmaster of National High School was his classmate. Sh. Jia Lal
Warikoo after being appointed as teacher served at Bagh Dilawar Khan school at
Namchibal, Srinagar as a Science teacher. In 1931 Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was
his Science teacher at the same school.
JL Warikoo was
transferred and posted to Askardu as Headmaster of Lower High School in
September 1946. He moved alongwith his wife Prabha (23 years) and children-Uma
(12 years), Khema (5 years), Ashok (2 years) to Askardu. Son Joti was born to
him in October 1946. Only his daughter Krishna stayed back at Srinagar with her
maternal grand-parents. Valuable inputs for this story have been provided by Sh
A view of Skardu Town
from the Fort.
There were many
Kashmiri Pandits in Askardu. These included among others families of Dr.
Khazanchi, Dr. Kashi Nath Tiku, Master Maheshwar Nath Raina, besides SHO Pt.
Amar Nath Muthu, Pt. Nand Lal Bambroo, overseer etc.
The Warikoos took
up residence near the school. It was away from the main town. The nearest
neighbour of Warikoos was the family of Pt. Niranjan Nath Nadir, a Girdawar in
the State Revenue Department.
Lal Warikoo had appointed a peon on ad-hoc basis against the leave vacancy of a
peon. On arrival of the peon on leave this arrangement was discontinued.
A day before on
Amavasi day the Headmaster had come to know that 300 Pak raiders had entered
Askardu area. Next day neither the students nor local teachers attended the
school. On the following morning when all the members of Warikoo family were
asleep in the house there was a knock at the door. Jia Lal Warikoo smelt
something fishy. Much against his wishes he went to respond to the call. The
ad-hoc peon whose services had been terminated was the caller. Without putting
any question the peon hit the Headmaster on the head with an axe, who fell down
on the floor in a pool of blood. His wife Prabha rushed out. Holding her husband
in her lap she cried and wept bitterly. There was nobody either to protect or
offer medical aid to the Headmaster.
The peon had a few persons accompanying him. After killing the
Headmaster in cold blood they ransacked the house, looting all the valuables.
The other members of the family were given thrashing and asked not to speak.
After sometime few Kashmiri Pandit neighbours came out and found
Pt. Jia Lal dead. Without putting shroud or performing any religious rites Pt.
Jia Lal Warikoo was buried in a grave just near the school under the cover of
darkness. At the time of his death he was just 28. The family moved to the
along with other Kashmiri Pandits. Mrs. Jia Lal Warikoo and her son Joti died in
Fort camp in June 1948 and January 1948 respectively for want of medical aid.
Pt. Jia Lal Warikoo's martyrdom also finds mention in Pt. Sridhar Kaul's
celebrated work 'Ladakh Through The Ages'.