Mehbooba Mufti

Last fortnight Kashmir was denied access to online world. The Internet blockade remained enforced for over three days, cutting off valley from outer world. The Net gag came at a time when Muslim world faced two major tragedies during the annual pilgrimage of Hajj.

First a construction crane fell on ground in holy Masjid in Makkah Mukaramah and then a stampede occurred in Mina while Hajjis were busy stoning Satan. Kashmiri mourned on both occasions – as at first, a Haji from Khanyar lost his life in crane crash; and second, when four Kashmiri Hajjis were reported dead in stampede. Three are still missing and government has no information about their whereabouts yet. Four died of natural deaths while cause of two deaths is being ascertained.

This ‘no information’ persists even when PDP president and MP Mehbooba Mufti led an Indian Hajj delegation. It was for the first time that any lady from sub-continent headed such a delegation. News about the death of Hajjis was first made public by Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson from the United States and Mehbooba, strangely for the reasons best known to her, is yet to speak on the issue!

The 1959-born daughter of incumbent chief minister of JK did create a buzz with her silence. Her detractors even termed her silence on the issue an ‘insensitive’ one.

Mehbooba, a law graduate from Kashmir University, jumped into active politics when she fought and won 1996 polls from Bijbehara on Congress ticket. Later she resigned from her assembly seat for contesting Lok Sabha elections in 1999 from Srinagar, which she lost. In 2002 assembly elections, she won Pahalgam seat defeating Rafi Ahmed Mir. And since 2004, she has won from Islamabad Lok Sabha seat thrice.

A mother of two daughters (Iltija and Irtiqa) had to brave divorce to pursue an independent political career. But her political career known for the ‘sympathy show’ has apparently gone through transformation after BJP swung into power at Delhi and Srinagar. And now, her Hajj silence regarding a global event is itself speaking for her!

– Riyaz ul Khaliq

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