Four Controversies linked with Mufti’s second term as Chief Minister
Srinagar, January 08: 79-year old Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed breathed his last early in the morning on December 07. He is the third Chief Minister of state who died in office.
In his 67-year old political career, it was his second term as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir which started on March 01, 2014.
His second stint as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir lasted not more than a year but it was linked with four major controversies which saw the PDP in disagreement with the BJP, its coalition partner. Here is the list:
It took nearly two months of hectic back-channel negotiations to cobble together a coalition of the PDP and BJP, parties with divergent views on Kashmir and its special relationship with the Union.
He praised militants only the First day of becoming the Chief Minister: After Mufti took oath as second time Chief Minister on March 01 last year, he held a press conference and expressed his gratitude to Kashmiri separatists, militant organisations and “forces from across the border” for peaceful conduct of Assembly elections in the state. This statement made by Mufti raged its coalition party, BJP which later made a remark that the party had nothing to do with Mufti’s statement.
The release of Masarat Alam: Another big controversy arose after he released Masarat Alam, Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader who had organised the 2010 unrest on March 9. BJP alleges that the decision was taken all by himself and it was even protested by BJP. Their point was how Mufti could take such big decision without taking his coalition partner into confidence.
Following the protest, he ordered re-arrest of rearrested Masarat on April 17 from his house in the Habbakadal area of Srinagar. He was now booked under the Public Safety Act amid mounting outrage over raising of pro-Pakistan slogans and Pakistani flags at Geelani’s welcome rally in the Hyderpora area on April 15. Pertinently, Masarat is still under detention.
He made the hoisting of state flag mandatory for constitutional authorities: On March 12th, the General Administration Department (GAD) headed by Mufti issued a circular and made the hoisting the state flag mandatory for constitutional authorities on their official cars and buildings.. The order was protested by BJP and was withdrawn the next day under pressure.
However, the circular was restored by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court through a judgment made on December 18, the operation of which had now been stayed by a larger High Court Bench.
Beef Ban Controversy: On September 11, the sale and consumption of beef was banned in the state following High Court’s order. The order was greeted with “open defiance” in Kashmir. There was a months long controversy including engineer Rashid’s beef party violence, clashes and death of a Kashmiri trucker, Zahid Amad Bhat. According to Mufti, it was the politics of hate and intolerance.