SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) president Dr Farooq Abdullah faced a humiliating reaction at Dargah Hazrtabal as a number of agitated people wanted organisers to “throw him out”. Amid fierce pro-Azadi sloganeering, they shouted “shame, shame” as some people were putting a turban of honour on his head.
A video of the incident that is being circulated through social websites shows the devotes turning restive when some people – possibly the custodians of the shrine, started putting a dastaar on Dr Abdullah’s head. The NC president had barely entered the premises with an SSG escort, the security set up, that escorts and protects all the former Chief Minister’s and their families.
People got up from the long lines in the premises. Some even took their sandals and shoes in their hands and pointed towards him. They were shouting that he should be “thrown away”. The commotion triggered wave-like situation. As one side protested and sat, another side took over. It continued for a few minutes.
At one point in time, the man in the pulpit also resorted to religious sloganeering so that the situation could be managed. But the Azaadi slogans reoccurred moments after he resumed his speech. This apparently was the reason for quick prayers. After the prayers were over, the security set up took the VVIP out of the masjid. Neither of them stayed back for the mandatory Khutba. In case of Eid prayers, unlike the Friday prayers, Khutba is held after the prayers are over.
In the afternoon, another video taken from the main spot where Dr Abdullah was seated in a chair shows a situation that is chaotic and dangerous. Shot from a mobile, the 2-minute-plus footage offer the start crisis visuals. Though Dr Abdullah is looking composed in his chair, he moves his head twice. First when he barely nods and tries a smile. Second, when he reprimands the man carrying the cell phone. It was towards the end and Dr Abdullah tells the cell phone man to go away.
This footage shows the man in the pulpit insisting that nobody will be permitted to tinker with the Article 35(A). This, however, is not satisfying the audience and they continue with their frantic pro-Azaadi sloganeering. As the organisers rush towards the prayers, most of the audience in the footage is not involved. They continued with their slogans. They actually pushed the crowd towards Abdullah and it did trigger sort of a serious jolt, physically. The security detail of Dr Abdullah was in real panic.
Though there have been quite a quite a few instances in which the VVIPs faced anger and public hate on special occasions especially in the Masjid’s, this was pretty serious. Had the situation not been controlled by the security detail of Dr Abdullah, there could have been a serious post prayer crisis.
Dr Abdullah’s latest speech in a prayer meeting in memory of Atal Behari Vajpayee was heading the chart of social media watchers in last few days. At the end of his speech, Dr Abdullah turned emotional and resorted to sloganeering.
Abdullahs’ have been offering prayers in the Hazratbal as one major reason for this is that the new shrine was reconstructed under the supervision of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Sheikh had spent a lot of time in the shrine and used the platform for furthering his politics.
Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mufti Sayeed were always going for prayers to Dargah when they were ruling the state. After losing power, however, they would seldom visit the shrine-Masjid complex.
Mehbooba Mufti whose earlier nimaaz in the shrine created news for a serious “grammatical error” by one of her friends, offered her prayers in the Sonawar shrine today. Ms Mufti had famously taken that case to the assembly and attempted to issue a futwa, a decree in her friend’s favour.
Interestingly, the situation in almost all the Masjid’s across Kashmir remained tense in wake of the appeal by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) that the Imams’ must educate about the audiences about the lurking dangers to the Article 35(A) of the Constitution of India. Almost everywhere across Kashmir and in sections of Jammu division the issue was talked about by the Imams. The case about the law is in the Supreme Court and the next date of hearing is on August 27.
There were clashes between factions of protesters and the police at various places including Srinagar. A major clash was reported in Eidgah after the prayers in which the police used tear smoke and pellets. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq condemned the use of force against the people.
Protests were also reported from south Kashmir Anatnag and Kupwara as well. One report said a security man was injured in the stone pelting. A freelance photographer in Srinagar, Masarat Zehra said she received pellets on her forehead.
A police spokesman said the Eid prayers concluded peacefully but there were some isolated incidents of stone pelting in Eidgah, Anantnag and Sopore. Police, teh spokesman said, exhibited restraint.