The Jammu Kashmir government announced a public holiday on Thursday and seven-day state mourning following the death of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at AIIMS, New Delhi Thursday morning.
Mufti was 79. He will be laid to rest in Bijbehara, Anantnag.
Mufti, who was patron of the People’s Democratic Party and had formed government in alliance with BJP in the state, was admitted in AIIMS following complaint of fever on December 24 and he had been responding to the treatment. However, following deterioration in his condition during the last four days, he had been on artificial respiration.
He was the architect of healing touch policy in Kashmir so as to bring back misguided local youth into the mainstream. His campaign for introducing confidence building measures to remove distrust between people living in India and Pakistan had led to the opening of cross LoC Uri-Muzaffrabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads for trade and travel between people of Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Born on Januay 12, 1936, Mufti had a humble family background. He did his graduation from Government SP College, Srinagar, and later Law and from post graduation in History from Aligarh Muslim University.
Mufti Sayeed had been a member of the Indian National Congress until 1987 and when he quit the party as Union Minister and joined VP Singh’s Jan Morcha. In 1989, after his election to Lok Sabha from Muzaffarnagar, he became the first Muslim to be sworn in as country’s Home Minister.
He rejoined the Congress under then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao which he left in 1999 along with daughter Mehbooba Mufti to form his own Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party.
He had previously headed the PDP-Congress coalition from November 2, 2002 to November 2, 2005 and during this tenure, he introduced the policy of healing touch in the state. On 1 March 2015, Mufti Sayeed was sworn in as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, for the second time and this time, his party had a post poll coalition with BJP.