Truth Behind The Most Controversial Picture In Kashmir

Umran Hussain

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah leading Eid prayers In Eid Gah Srinagar in 1981

This is the picture that always finds itself in middle of the controversy in Kashmir, in which Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah can be seen leading Eid prayers at Eid Gah Srinagar in 1981.

The picture always stands decorated with different theories and explanations, but the truth behind this fiercely discussed picture is altogether different.

We tried to dig deeper so as to clarify the doubt behind one of the most controversial photos: Eid prayers led by Abdullah Sheikh, 1981, and found that originally the prayers at Eid Gah were always lead by the Imam of Jamia Masjid, but at this particular occasion Sheikh Abdullah wanted to install the Imam of his choice as ‘Imam-e-Hai.’

Sheikh’s choice, that is Imam of Pathar Masjid was tried and rejected by all the people. People are said to become resentful and angry and Sheikh, sensing a revolt from them, immediately stepped forward without giving anyone a chance and started the prayer.

While handling such a sensitive situation, Molvi Farooq is said to have consoled everyone and urged them to join the prayer silently behind Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.

After the namaz, Shaikh Tajamul Islam of Jamait-ut-tulba delivered a forceful speech outside Eid Gah.

The picture was however misused by many for their political goals and agendas.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was an Indian politician who played a central role in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. Referred as “Sher-e-Kashmir” (Lion of Kashmir), Abdullah was the founding leader of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (later renamed Jammu and Kashmir National Conference) and the 1st elected Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after its accession to India. He agitated against the rule of the Maharaja Hari Singh and urged self-rule for Kashmir.

He served as the 1st elected Prime Minister of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir and was later jailed and exiled. He was dismissed from the position of Prime Ministership on 8 August 1953 and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the new Prime Minister. The expressions ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’ and ‘Prime Minister’ were replaced with the terms ‘Governor’ and ‘Chief Minister’ in 1965. Sheikh Abdullah again became the Chief Minister of the state following the 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord and remained in the top slot till his death on 8 September 1982.

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