He also ran a micro credit society; money stolen from safe but cops tread cautiously
A 64-year-old social worker, who edited an Urdu weekly besides running a credit cooperative society, was found stabbed to death at his office at
Eidgah Complex, Tannery Road here on Wednesday morning.
Hafiz Shamsul Huda, a respected leader of the Muslim community in the eastern part of the City, was stabbed in the neck. The victim was the founder-president of Al-Quds Minorities Credit Cooperative Society and ran Makhzan (treasure), a four-page Urdu weekly.
Huda would be the first person to reach office every day. He would read the morning newspaper there. According to police, Huda left his house at Bamboo Bazaar, Shivajinagar, around 7 am as usual and reached office about two kilometre away. The newspaper and the society offices are next to each other.
A lady clerk employed with the society, who came to the newspaper office around 10 am, found the door latched. She opened the door, took the keys of her office and went out, latching the door again, a police source explained. It was a usual practice, the source added.
Fifteen minutes later, a young DTP operator employed with the newspaper arrived. He opened the door and went in. He then pushed open the door of the editor’s cabin and had the shock of his life — Huda was lying in a pool of blood with a deep injury on his neck.
Mansoor, who has his office on the same floor, said he rushed out upon hearing the young man’s screams. He found the elderly man murdered and called up the police, Mansoor added.
Kamal Pant, Additional Commissioner (Law and Order), said the motive for the murder was unclear. However, a small safe in the office was found broken open and money kept there missing. The investigation would ascertain whether it was a murder for gain or the money was stolen to mislead the investigators, he added. Pant further said that the post-mortem report and inquest would determine whether there were more injuries on the body.
A case of murder has been registered at the D J Halli police station. The post-mortem was conducted at the Bowring Hospital and the body handed over to the family in the evening. The funeral prayer was held late night.
According to Salman, his friend Huda had told him in a lighter vein a month ago about a threat call he had received on his mobile phone in the dead of night.
“Huda made fun of the caller, saying he spoke in English. When he asked him to speak in Urdu or Hindi, he disconnected the call,” Salman told Deccan Herald, adding that Huda neither appeared to take the call seriously nor elaborated on it later. He didn’t even inform the police, Salman lamented.
Some of Huda’s associates, however, allege that he had received the threat call for spearheading protests against the crisis-ridden Amanath Co-operative Bank Ltd.
Interestingly, the bank operates a branch in the ground floor of the same building where Huda’s offices are located.
A plot of land that Huda owned in the outskirts of the City was grabbed by some people and he was trying hard to evict them, another close associate explained, suspecting that it could be the motive.
When asked about the possible motives, Pant said the threat call issue was being probed and the investigation would cover all possible angles.
‘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).
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.