National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah Monday said his father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had chosen “prison over power” as he paid tributes to party founder and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister on his 112th birth anniversary.
“Sher-e-Kashmir’s struggles and sacrifices for the dignity of this state and its people need to be emulated to take the State out of the throes of divisive politics and sinister plans of political disempowerment,” Farooq said in a statement.
“Sher-e-Kashmir’s life was a valiant story of selfless leadership. He fought for the political rights and dignity of his people till his last breath. He chose prison over power for his people and it is this sense of sacrifice and courage that needs to be instilled in our youth for the future of our State,” he said.
“ Sher-e-Kashmir’s call for inclusiveness and secularism needs to be heard in every town and village of the State today – at a time when political forces are trying their best to divide the people of the State on the basis of region and religion.”
Sheikh Abdullah spent over a decade in jails after he was dismissed as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and arrested in the ‘Kashmir Conspiracy Case’ by the ‘Sadr-i-Riyasat’ Karan Singh, son of the last Dogra autocrat Hari Singh, in 1953.
In his autobiography, Abdullah would blame his close friend and India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru for his dismissal and arrest even as he described his nearly 23-year long association with the ‘Plebiscite Front’ movement as “political vagrancy.”
He returned to power as chief minister of the state in 1975 after an agreement with Nehru’s daughter and India’s then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor N N Vohra also paid tributes to Abdullah on his birth anniversary being observed on December 5.
Mehbooba described Abdullah as a “visionary leader who would always be remembered for taking many revolutionary steps including introduction of land reforms and Single Line Administration in the State.”
In his message, the Governor said that Abdullah was a “popular leader and a social reformer who fought for the rights of the oppressed sections of the society, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and strived for the sustenance of secular and pluralistic values.”