End Of A Political Era In J&K History
12 December 2004
Srinagar: Syed Mir Qasim, who stepped down as the Chief Minister's in 1975 to pave way for Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah thus ending 22 years of separatist politics died in New Delhi's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Sunday morning. The State Government has announced three days mourning and holiday on Monday. His body would be flown to Srinagar on Monday and laid to rest at his ancestral village of Dooru in South Kashmir's Anantnag district. Qasim's death is completion of an era of mainstream politics in Kashmir. He sacrificed his seat of Chief Minister, despite having two-thirds majority in state assembly, after historical 1975 Indira-Abdullah Accord which brought Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah back to mainstream politics. Qasim joined the Union cabinet after stepping down from the Chief Ministership. Qasim joined politics in late 1940's when he was nominated into the Constituent Assembly in 1950 to represent Dooru constituency. He became the Chief Minister in 1972 after the demise of Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq, who incidentally died on the same day in 1972. He was elected the first president (of Congress) in 1965 when G M Sadiq merged the National Conference into Congress. He had retired from active politics more than two decades and was confined to his residence following a severe paralytic attack. But despite this his brain was active and was always abreast of current affairs on the local and national political scene. Two years ago, he resurfaced into the headlines when he sought to break a deal between separatist Hurriyat Conference and the Central Government but the effort did not bear any fruit. He was a staunch advocate of dialogue process between the Centre and the separatists in the valley. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who has served as Minister in Qasim's cabinet has expressed profound grief and shock over his demise. In a condolence message, the Chief Minister said 'Qasim Sahib was an able statesman and a distinguished politician who made a significant contribution to the political history of Jammu and Kashmir at a crucial stage.' He added that his services to the state and its people would long be remembered. Although he had taken a graceful retirement from active politics he remained in touch with the developments and continued to be a source of inspiration for his friends, colleagues and admirers, he added. The Chief Minister conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal peace to the departed soul. The Chief Minister visited the residence of the late Syed Mir Qasim at 6-Lodhi Estate in New Delhi this afternoon and expressed deep sympathies with the bereaved family. The body of the former Chief Minister will be flown to Srinagar on Tuesday for burial at his native village, Dooru Shahabad in Anantnag district after his two sons, Javed and Sajad arrive here from Bangkok and USA, respectively.The State Government has declared three day's state morning during which the National and the State flags would fly half mast. They have also declared a public holiday on Monday. Meanwhile, a stream of mourners on Sunday visited the New Delhi residence of late Syed Mir Qasim to pay the last respects.