ON 3 OCTOBER 2015, the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly met for the first sitting of its autumn session. The day was to be spent remembering a number of prominent individuals who had died recently, most of them state politicians, such as the former ministers Mir Ghulam Mohammad Poonchi, Ghulam Rasool Kar, and Abdul Ghani Shah Veeri. Also on the list was the former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam.
Towards the end of the session, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and the leader of the assembly, rose to speak. Hawk-nosed and silver-haired, with heavy bags under his eyes and a slightly tense manner, Sayeed exuded the air of a disgruntled professor.