Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Early Life
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, born 12 January 1936, founded the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and led a coalition government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in Kashmir. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was 53 years old, and just days into his tenure as India’s first Muslim home minister when his daughter Rubaiya, a 23-year-old medical intern, was abducted from Srinagar on 8 December 1989. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed affair with active politics began in the 1950s, and he first entered the state legislative assembly in 1962, aged all of 26. Over the years, his political career spanned different parties – from the Democratic National Conference (DNC), a splinter group of the J&K National Conference (JKNC), to the Congress, the Janata Dal, and back to the Congress, before he formed the PDP in 1999. By 1975, he had switched sides to the Congress. During ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’ Sheikh Abdullah’s final stint heading J&K, Sayeed is said to have emerged as Delhi’s man in the Valley.
“Basically, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was very suspicious of Shiekh even after the 1975 accord (which called for the continuation of Article 370, among other things) happened,” political commentator Noor-ul-Qamrain told ThePrint.
“So, she keep a tab on him through Mufti. He became the eyes and ears of New Delhi,” he added.
According to Qamrain, Mufti was the “blue-eyed boy” of the Congress in those days. The 1980s saw the emergence of the second generation of Abdullahs as Farooq rode a sympathy wave in the wake of his father Sheikh Abdullah’s death to win the majority in the 1983 election. However, a year later, the government was dismissed by the then governor Jagmohan after 13 JKNC MLAs defected to the Congress. Qamrain said Sayeed was the architect of this rebellion in the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference.
“Farooq’s brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah made a new government in the state,” he added, with reports suggesting the coup was supported by the Congress.
In 1986, Sayeed was made the union minister for tourism in the Rajiv Gandhi government. But ties frayed by the next year, when an accord between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq to bring stability in Kashmir brought the latter back as chief minister. Sayeed then quit the Congress just as V.P. Singh was sacked by the party for speaking out on the Bofors scandal. When an anti-Congress coalition, the National Front, formed the government under V.P. Singh at the Centre in 1989, Sayeed became home minister.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Biography and Profile
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was a politician from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. He served twice as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, from November 2002 to November 2005 and again from March 2015 to January 2016. He was also Home Minister of India from December 1989 to November 1990.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Education
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed graduated in law from Srinagar’s Sri Pratap College, before pursuing a master’s at Aligarh Muslim University.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Political Career
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed started his political career as an MLA from Bijbehra in Anantnag during Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s time. By the time Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister, Sayeed thought he was a deserving candidate for Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. He saw opportunities not coming his way while he was in the National Conference, whose leadership passed on from Sheikh Abdullah to Farooq Abdullah.
Sayeed was the senior-most leader of the Congress in Kashmir when Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister. He had his eyes on the chief ministership, which Rajiv Gandhi was not ready to offer to him even though he was not particularly happy with the then chief minister GM Shah.
The opening of locks of Babri Masjid gave a rare opportunity to Sayeed. The Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to open the locks of Babri Masjid in 1986 was followed by riots in some parts of the country. Jammu and Kashmir was unaffected except for one district – Anantnag, the pocket borough of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
A number of temples were desecrated and houses of Kashmiri pundits attacked. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed allegedly played a role in instigating communal violence in Anantnag. Writing in Caravan, Praveen Donthi, who reported from Kashmir quoted various sources to say: “Mufti saab was behind it Mufti engineered the riots”
Reports also suggest that the Congress leadership was not happy with GM Shah and looking for an opportunity to get rid of him. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed allegedly provided that “excuse” by “engineering riots” in Anantnag. GM Shah was dismissed but Sayeed was not made the CM.
By the end of 1986, Rajiv Gandhi had an agreement with Farooq Abdullah, who was installed as the chief minister. Election was announced and Sayeed was pressed into poll campaign by the Congress leadership. But again, Sayeed allegedly sought votes for a new “separatist” political group Muslim United Front (MUF).
The Congress and National Conference had entered into an alliance for 1987 election. On the other hand, all anti-establishment groups including Jamaat-e-Islami came under one umbrella, MUF. Its election manifesto pressed for implementing Simla Agreement to resolve all outstanding issues but it also stated to work for Islamic unity, no political interference from the Centre.
The MUF raised a slogan saying that they wanted the law of the Quran in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Sayeed allegedly sought vote for MUF while he was holding election meetings for the Congress.
Reports suggest that Sayeed addressed the rallies in Kashmiri language that made his speeches incomprehensible to Najma Heptuallah, the observer sent by the central Congress leadership. Sayeed reportedly told his audience, “No need to tell you who to vote for, my Congress people, there is a tradition,” as he took out a pen from his pocket and made imaginary sign to make an inkpot. Pen and Inkpot was the election symbol of the MUF.
Sayeed resigned from his cabinet berth and quit Congress soon after 1987 state election.
The Congress-NC alliance contested all 76 seats while MUF fielded candidates in 43 constituencies. As votes were being counted and results announced, arbitrary decisions were taken by election officials allegedly at the behest of the government. Among those believed to have won but declared lost was MUF leader Muhammad Yusuf Shah.
The true scale of “rigging” is not known till date. But it is estimated that debutant party MUF would have won 15-20 of 43 contested seats. The Congress-NC alliance was certain to attain majority but allegations of massive rigging created an atmosphere of distrust and Pakistan took advantage of the situation.
Result was armed militancy in the state. MUF leader Muhammad Yusuf Shah took the name of Syed Salahuddin and rose to head terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
Yasin Malik was his election manager in 1987 and went on to head another terror-secessionist front Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which two years later kidnapped Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiyya. Five terrorists were freed to secure her release. Sayeed was the Union home minister at the time and there is no record to suggest that he objected – unlike the then Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah – to the release of terrorists.
Mufti Mohammad Launched PDP in 1999
Mufti Mohammad launched the PDP in 1999 when, according to Kashmir watchers, no one was ready to fight elections in that volatile time. It was his own daughter Mehbooba Mufti, his successor as chief minister, who emerged as the foot soldier of the party and took the PDP door-to-door in the Kashmir Valley. By opting for “the pen and inkpot” as the party symbol, Sayeed wanted to write a new roadmap for Kashmir where he would emerge as the accepted leader of masses.
Though he has openly sought to balance his identity as Kashmiri and Indian, both father and daughter came to be identified with a “soft-separatist” ideology. In its maiden election in 2002, the PDP won 16 of the state’s 16 assembly seats, scoring 21 in 2008. In 2014, it emerged as the biggest player with 28 seats.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was 53 years old, and just days into his tenure as India’s first Muslim home minister when his daughter Rubaiya, a 23-year-old medical intern, was abducted from Srinagar on 8 December 1989. Her abductors, members of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), wanted five fellow militants released from prison in exchange for her release. Against the advice of the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Sayeed managed to get the five militants released. This decision is said to have helped catalyse the Kashmir militancy’s bloody 1990s chapter, and remains one of the defining points of Sayeed’s legacy.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Personal Styles
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed knack for bold political moves, the last of which saw the founder of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) forge a tie-up with ideological opponent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in the restive state.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Death
India’s Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died after a brief illness, aged 79. Sayeed, who was admitted to a hospital in Delhi, suffered from a number of health problems, reports say. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed founded the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and led a coalition government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in Kashmir.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Hobbies
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed loved golf, and reportedly harboured a dream to pitch Kashmir as a “golfing paradise” to tourists.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Family
- Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Spouse: Gulshan Ara.
- Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Children: Mehbooba Mufti, Rubaiyya Sayeed.
Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Biography and Profile