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9 August 1953—When Sheikh Abdullah Was Arrested From Gulmarg as PM

August 9, 2023

Abdullah was unceremoniously removed as PM and Jailed

Srinagar, August 09: Exactly seven decades ago, on the directions of India’s first independent Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the orders of Jammu and Kashmir’s then Sadr-e-Riyasat, Karan Singh, the leader of the National Conference and then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, was unceremoniously arrested from the famed tourist resort, Gulmarg, and removed from his post as PM.

A lot of changes have taken place on the slippery political chessboard of J&K in the last 70 years. Sheikh Abdullah, considered the region’s ‘tallest’ leader at the time, was imprisoned for over 20 years in two separate stints. He returned to Kashmir’s political scene in 1975 as Chief Minister after compromising on his principles and political struggle. In his place, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was installed as Prime Minister.

Mehr Chand Mahajan was Jammu and Kashmir’s first Prime Minister after the end of the Dogra rule in 1947. Prior to that, Ram Chandra Kak too served as PM of J&K. Sheikh Abdullah became the region’s Prime Minister on 5 March 1948 and remained in office till 8 August 1953. On the 9th of August 1953, Abdullah was arrested.

Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad enjoyed power as PM first from 9 August 1953 till 25 March 1957 and again from 25 March 1957 till 18 February 1962.

After Bakshi’s stint as PM of J&K, Khawaja Shamsuddin took over the charge for a period of 140 days and later Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq was the Prime Minister from 29 February 1964 till 30 March 1965.

In the mid-1960s, the post of Prime Minister was invalidated and so was the post of Sadr-e-Riyasat.

On 5 August 2019, Government of India abrogated Articles 370 and 35(a) of the Indian Constitution. Currently, Supreme Court of India is hearing a host of petitions challenging the government’s decision made on 5 August 2019.

Sheikh Abdullah’s legacy remains contested in Kashmir for a variety of reasons. His followers call him the ‘lion of Kashmir’ while his detractors describe him as incompetent and opportunistic leader who compromised on his principles for petty power.

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