Sheikh Ghulam Ahmad Saloora

Reactions in anger lead to awkward situations. At times clear disappointments. Same holds true for Sheikh Ghulam Ahmad Saloora, the man in conflict with government employees. Once a powerful man in politics of Ganderbal, Saloora on March 14 was pinned down by staff at Tehsil office Ganderbal. The reason he reportedly roughed up the tehsildar of the area and created a ruckus, before apologising, hugging and kissing the officer.

A long-time National Conference loyalist from Ganderbal, Saloora in 2014 felt “disgraced” when he was replaced by a retired DC-rank officer Showkat Ahmad Mir as provisional secretary. Hurt by the way he was treated, the move miffed Saloora, who felt “ditched” and “down”. The subsequent events added to his woes. He accused NC of withdrawing his security and putting his life in jeopardy.

Saloora had been very close to Dr. Farooq Abdullah, but their proximity did not help Saloora to stay relevant in the changing dynamics of the NC. As Dr. Abdullah’s chief election agent in 1996, Saloora claimed to have manage 120 polling agents for 60 polling booths.

Distinctly in discord with Omar Abdullah, Saloora accused the junior Abdullah of humiliating him many times in his office. Finally NC’s man for around 38 years and Dr. Abdullah’s constituency representative, Saloora left the party before the 2014 elections.

A resident of Saloora village, once known for local and foreign militants, Saloora survived many life attempts and has lost “vital organs to the car bomb blast.” “Even then, I was never given due share of my sacrifice,” he regrets. He says he never left the valley during the tough days of the nineties, peak militancy in the valley.

Out of NC, he floated his own party Awami Insaaf Party (AIP), but he fought the elections as an independent candidate. Confident of his win and decimation of NC in the constituency, he lost to Ishfaq Jabbar, NC’s replacement of Omar in Ganderbal.

Barring few mild appearances in public for last five years, Saloora was seen in a quagmire on March 14. Caught among government employees in the premises of government office, he was seen moving aimlessly to get out. The closed gate, intense sloganeering and furious faces compelled him to come, stop and apologise. He had picked a fight with the magistrate and later had to cut the sorry finger. However, such incidents are rather a norm than the exception in Kashmir.

– Fayaz Safvi

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