Under Jagmohan, Jammu and Kashmir entered a period of unfettered repression

25 January 2016
In 1989, when VP Singh, pictured above shaking hands with Farooq Abdullah, was sworn in as the prime minister, he chose Sayeed to be his home minister. Sayeed was the first Muslim to head the ministry
hindustan times
In 1989, when VP Singh, pictured above shaking hands with Farooq Abdullah, was sworn in as the prime minister, he chose Sayeed to be his home minister. Sayeed was the first Muslim to head the ministry
hindustan times

It was announced today that former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan has been named for the Padma Vibhushan, to be awarded on this year's Republic Day celebrations.

Jagmohan held the post of governor for two nonconsecutive terms at the height of militancy in the state. In 1984, then-prime minister Indira Gandhi replaced the then-governor BK Nehru, and gave the post to Jagmohan. This was a part of Gandhi's plot to dismiss the chief minister at that time, Farooq Abdullah. In his January 2016 profile of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the late chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Praveen Donthi recounts how, during Jagmohan's second term as governor, the state entered a period of "unfettered repression."

TOWARDS THE END OF THE 1980’s, [Mufti Mohammad]SAYEED, DISGRUNTLED with his position in the Congress, sought an opportunity to reinvent himself politically. He seized an opportunity after communal riots broke out in Meerut in May 1987. Resigning from his post as union tourism minister, he deplored Rajiv’s [Gandhi]  “insensitive” approach to the violence, and returned to Jammu and Kashmir.

In an interview with [Inderjit] Badhwar (an India Today journalist) later that year, he criticised Rajiv’s leadership of the party. The Meerut riots had left him feeling that there was a “communal divide” in the country, he said. But he found that Rajiv was “incapable of reacting emotionally.” He ranted against the Rajiv-Farooq accord, and the sidelining of the old Congress guard. “No one consulted me” on the accord, Sayeed said. The prime minister, he insisted, had failed loyal party workers. Rajiv “is not like his mother,” Sayeed said. “She consulted us on every issue as she did a cross section of people. But now, after our sacrifices, we’re thrown away like flies, reduced to the status of pygmies.”

In the same interview, Badhwar asked him if he would start a new party. Sayeed replied, “The ball is in the leadership’s court. I’ve simply come back to square one.” While he would continue to address national-level issues, he said, “I will welcome VP Singh or for that matter, even leaders of the opposition, if they wish to address issues in this state.”

Praveen Donthi  is a staff writer at The Caravan.

Keywords: Jagmohan Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Jammu and Kashmir
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