First Time In Three Decades, Farooq, Omar Miss Sheikh’s Anniversary

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Few party workers assemble at NC founder’s mausoleum, authorities had imposed curbs in Hazratbal area, ho, says NC MP

Owais Gul

Srinagar: Much to the disappointment of hundreds of National Conference leaders including party Chief Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, dozens of party leaders and activists missed National Conference (NC) patriarch Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s birth anniversary.

Every year, NC observes Sheikh’s anniversary on December 5 where all the party leaders including party chief Dr Farooq Abdullah his son Omar Abdullah and former Chief Minster besides other senior leaders would ensure their presence at the mausoleum of the party founder to pay tributes.

At Sheikh’s grave, the party leaders would make announcements for their future strategy and renew their pledge to press for the restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. With all leaders around, more than 500 NC workers would attend the function and offer special prayers for the departed soul.

However, today only few party workers besides Member Parliaments (MPs) managed to reach Hazratbal and paid tributes to their funding leader. Ghulam Rasool, a die-hard NC worker from Hazratbal said that authorities had imposed curbs by placing rolls of concertina wires at the roads leading to Sheikh’s mausoleum.

“This is for the first time that not more than 50 party men were present at the Sheikh Sahab’s grave on the banks of world famous Dal lake. It was shocking to see huge presence of security forces personnel, who were not allowing more than four persons to move towards his grave,” he said.

“Earlier, the same security forces personnel, would ensure all the NC workers reach the venue without any issue or hassle, but today it was a different scene altogether.” Many party activists, who were present on the occasion, echoed similar views.

NC patron Dr Farooq, his son Omar Abdullah, and majority of senior NC leaders including Ali Muhammad Sagar, Nasir Aslam Wani, and others are under continuous detention since August 5.

 NC MP Justice Hasnain Masoodi said that it was an irony that people were barred from attending the function to offer tributes to their great leader.

“If everything is normal, why curbs have been imposed here to prevent NC workers from attending the important function. Is this normalcy,” he asked. “Wasn’t Dr Farooq and Omar supposed to offer fateh prayers here today. Our district and zonal presidents are under detention besides other leaders. Political process has come to a standstill in Kashmir post August 5.”


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