'He spent 18 months in jail for opposing Emergency'

'He spent 18 months in jail for opposing Emergency'

Shamsul Huda, the 64-year-old editor of an Urdu weekly who was found murdered at his office on Tannery Road here on Wednesday morning, was once a fiery political activist jailed for 18 months for opposing Emergency.

His childhood friend, septuagenarian Ibrahim Khan broke down while speaking to Deccan Herald. He said his friend was once a fiery leader of the community who sobered with age and turned a social worker.

The two friends enrolled for a course in Islamic studies at Madrasa Al-Baqiyathus Salihath at Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Thereafter, Huda became an imam (prayer leader) in mosques at Padarayanapura in the City and Sagar in Shimoga district four decades ago. He then jumped into political activism during the JP movement in the mid-1970s.

Khan remembered that Huda launched an Urdu weekly Hayat-e-Nau (The new life) way back in 1974. Huda was arrested for his writings which were extremely critical of Emergency. He spent 18 months in Bangalore and Bellary prisons. BJP leader L K Advani was also lodged at the Bangalore central prison then.

‘A radical leader’

Shivajinagar MLA, R Roshan Baig, a fiery student leader then, said Huda was a radical leader of the community. According to him, Huda founded Muslim Naujawan Committee as a reactionary response to the RSS. The outfit’s cadre wore khaki trousers, white shirt and white cap. They also wielded lathis.

“I am a witness to an incident when the then chief minister D Devaraj Urs sent word to him in the prison that he would be set free if he wrote a letter of apology,” Baig recounted.

“He flatly refused and suffered incarceration.”

After Emergency, Huda became a full-time political activist and launched another Urdu weekly Al-Quds (The Holy).

Interest-free loans

He also ran a primary school which was closed two years ago, Baig added. He earned a living through the Al-Quds Minorities Credit Co-Operative Society he had founded.

He would give interest-free loans to the poor in lieu of gold jewellery and other small valuables, he said.

Huda was married to Razia Begum and the couple didn’t have a child.

“He had helped many like me to stand on their own feet,” Salman said. “He was a selfless person and his life an open book.”

Ibrahim Khan, childhood friend:

Shamsul Huda was once a fiery leader of the community who sobered with age and turned a social worker. He became a political activist during the JP movement in the mid-1970s.

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