Without uttering a single word, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti managed to strike the right chord on Sunday with those ringing the grave of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bijbehara town.
Mehbooba reached the sprawling Dara Shikoh Park along with family members to attend the fourth-day special prayer gathering and immediately headed for a corner where the late chief minister was laid to rest in the shade of a majestic chinar tree on January 7.
Police had a tough time controlling people who were jostling behind iron barricades to catch a glimpse of the PDP leader who’s expected to take the top post following her father’s death.
Tears trickled down Mehbooba’s face as she raised her hands skywards in prayer. The crowd of a few thousand became restive.
Moments later, she went down on her knees at the edge of the grave and continued to pray. Dozens from the crowd clicked pictures of her on their cellphones.
When a cleric started to recite special verses for peace to the departed soul, everyone, including politicians and locals, joined in chorus.
Immediately after the chanting ended, the air reverberated with slogans praising Mufti, who died on Thursday after receiving treatment for about two weeks at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Mufti tera naam rahega (Till the sun and moon are present, Mufti, you will be remembered),” the people shouted.
Before leaving, Mehbooba reached for the stage erected by authorities in front of the locals gathered.
She did not say anything. Tears again streamed down her cheeks and before leaving she just raised her hand to wave to the restive crowd which continued to shout slogans in praise of the departed leader.