January 2016 News

Mufti Passes Away, Laid To Rest With Full State Honours

7 January 2016
Kashmir Times

Srinagar: Remaining under treatment for last 14 days in the intensive care unit of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, passed away this morning. He was 79. After Mufti's death his daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is likely to become the new chief minister. Sources in PDP said there is total consensus in the party about her taking over as chief minister. BJP has made it clear that they too would support PDP's decision regarding Mehbooba. She will be the first woman chief minister of the state. Mufti had complained of exhaustion during his hectic tour of Srinagar city on December 22. He was flown to New Delhi on December 24 and was kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) of AIIMS. Mufti was laid to rest with full state honours at Dara Shikoh Bagh in his hometown of Bijbehara this evening. The state declared seven-day mourning as a mark of respect to the departed leader. All state government offices and educational institutions in the state remained closed today. National and state flags will be flown half-mast during the mourning on all buildings and places where these are flown. Thousands of people offered nimaze jinaze at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium here and in later in Bijbehara. On November 7 last year Mufti had made a speech at the stadium, which was addressed by prime minister Narendra Modi. He had addressed similar rally in past with then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Union home minister Rajnath Singh, former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Omar Abdullah, former PCC chief Prof Saif-u-Din Soz and large number of political leaders including ministers visited the bereaved family to offer their condolences. Omar, Azad and Soz besides others were among others who offered the nimaze jinaza at SK stadium here. They also laid wreaths on the body. At the New Delhi airport, prime minister, Narendra Modi, and other central leaders paid floral tributes to Mufti. They met PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, and offered condolences. At AIIMS New Delhi, union home minister Rajnath Singh, UPS chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other central and state leaders paid a visit and offered condolence to the bereaved family. Mufti's body was flown this afternoon from New Delhi to Srinagar in an IAF plane. From airport it was taken to chief minister's official residence at Gupkar Road, where thousands of people had gathered after the news of the death of Mufti. A number of cabinet leaders, politicians and senior officers of police, civil administration and security forces were also present. Large number of PDP workers from Central and north Kashmir had gathered at SK Stadium since morning to offer nimaze jinaza of Mufti. However, at the chief minister's residence, some ministers announced that the nimaze jonazah will be offered at CM residence complex. But the PDP workers protested. After some time the funeral procession of Mufti started from CM residence. The coffin carrying the body was placed in a police vehicle and all other people moved on foot. The funeral procession after moving on Gupkar Road reached the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium, where senior PDP leader and education minister Naeem Akhtar led the Nimaz-e-Jinazah. A ceremonial guard-of-honour was also given as a mark of respect to the departed leader. The body was later taken to Bijbehara. At several places at Srinagar-Bijbehara road, the people on the two sides of the road paid last respect to the departed leader. Thousands of people were waiting at Bijbeharae morning. They had come from different areas of south Kashmir. They raised pro-Islamic and pro PDP slogans. Mufti's body reached late there. But despite it being late and cold, people waited there and offered the nimaze jinazah. After the nimaze jinazah the body was laid to rest with full state honours. With tearful eyes, an unending sea of mourners who had congregated from today morning at his birth-place, paid last respects to their beloved leader.