Srinagar, Mar 10: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is under detention since August 5 when centre abrogated Article 370, turned 50 on Tuesday.
Ironically, Omar Abdullah’s grandfather and the founder of National Conference (NC) Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was also in jail when he turned 50. Sheikh Abdullah, 47, was dismissed from the position as the Prime Minister of J&K on August 8, 1953 and arrested. He remained in jail for about 11 years.
The half century of the former chief minister comes at a time when J&K is going through political uncertainty with nine top leaders, including Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, booked under PSA and scores of other political workers placed under detention post August 5.
Omar Abdullah’s photo last month, having long gray beard, went viral on social media, evoking sympathy from politicians like Sitaram Yechury, Mamata Banerjee and others, but 'failed' to garner any kind of support from local people of J&K, who can vote him back to power.
Sara Abdullah Pilot, sister of Omar Abdullah, last month approached the Supreme Court against the government's move to charge him under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The SC later issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the plea filed by Ms Pilot. A bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee, said it would hear on March 2 the plea challenging Omar Abdullah's detention.
Hours after the apex court deferred the case till Holi, a new photograph of Abdullah came into light on March 5.
On Monday, Opposition demanded the immediate release of all political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, especially three former chief ministers
Omar's grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed from the position of Prime Ministership on August 8, 1953 and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad took over as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah was arrested and remained in jail for almost 11 years for his alleged conspiracy against the State in the infamous ‘Kashmir Conspiracy Case’. The expressions 'Sadr-i-Riyasat’ and ‘Prime Minister’ were replaced with the terms ‘Governor’ and ‘Chief Minister’ in 1965.
Sheikh Abdullah again became the Chief Minister of the state following the 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord and remained in the top slot till his death on September 8, 1982.
The newly created Union Territory is undergoing various changes, which according to political parties is "not in the best interest of J&K". The holidays on Martyrs day and the birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah was recently removed by the administration followed by removing the title of Sher-e-Kashmir from state award and police medal. Earlier this week, Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre was renamed as Kashmir International Convention Centre.
Political activities have again restarted in the UT with former PDP finance minister Altaf Bukhari launching a new political party by the name of JK Apni Party, which according to him will ‘fight for restoration of statehood, domical right on land and jobs, besides holistic and equitable development of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir.’
The new party, which includes defector MLAs and MLCs from PDP and Congress, is expected to dent the vote bank of NC and PDP in J&K, where the process of delimitation of electoral constituencies has begun.(UNI)