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Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq

Mirwaiz?s son Maulvi Farooq took over as the new Mirwaiz after the former's death. As chief preacher at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, his religious influence was considerable.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2002 18:10 IST

Mirwaiz’s son Maulvi Farooq took over as the new Mirwaiz in the state, following the former’s death.

Sheikh Abdullah’s signing the Kashmir Accord with Indira Gandhi which was believed to be a sell out to central powers and a violation of the Simla Accord. According to the Muslims, the Sheikh had sold out the Kashmiris right of self determination. Rising against Sheikh Abdullah’s policy which Muslims felt was pro-Delhi, the many Muslim organisations grouped itself under Muslim United Front.

Mirwaiz Farooq had an important standing in the affairs of the state being also a part of the action committee which ran the state when the Hazratbal relic was stolen and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad dismissed.

The Muslims dissatisfaction with the leaders at the state and Centre had been rising steadily under Sheikh Abdullah and reached a head under his son and successor Dr Farooq Abdullah after the 1987 elections.

The elections, which swept back Farooq in power, were held in March 1987 under large-scale charges of rigging. The Muslim United Front (MUF) supposedly won a large number of votes which were attributed to the National Conference.

The Kashmiris felt totally disillusioned with the turn of events.

In May 1987, the first major act of violence was perpetrated against Farooq Abdullah when his motorcade was attacked on the way to a mosque. Anti-Indian feeling within the valley was mirrored by a surge of support for Pakistan. On April 11, 1988, young Muslims in Srinagar had forced shopkeepers to keep their shops shut in sympathy with all those who had been killed in an ammunition dump mishap at Ojhri in Pakistan.

Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq sent a condolence telegram to General Zia for the loss of life.

As chief preacher at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, his religious influence was considerable. On May 21, 1990 he was shot dead at his home. Outrage erupted at his killing. India blamed the Hizbul Mujahideen for Maulvi Umer Farooq’s killing and alleged the hand of Pakistan’s ISI. And further events aggravated the situation in the state.

During his funeral procession some officers opened fire on the procession. Twenty-seven died according to official figures. Unofficially the figures ran into hundreds. The Mirwaiz's coffin was also riddled with bullets.

Outrage at the murder turned into hysteria against the government. Under the Governor Jagmohan, the area was inaccessible.

In the words of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation investigating Maulvi Farooq's death, Kashmir was now behind a complete iron curtain separating it from the from the outside world."

First Published: Sep 08, 2002 21:58 IST