Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (12 January 1936 – 7 January 2016) was a politician from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. He served twice as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir; for three years from November 2002 till November 2005 and then again from March 2015 until his death in January 2016. He was also Home Minister of India from December 1989 to November 1990.
He founded the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, in July 1999 to “persuade the Government of India to initiate an unconditional dialogue with Kashmiris for resolution of the Kashmir problem.” He died on 7 January 2016 at AIIMS, Delhi due to multiple organ failures.
Mufti Sayeed was born on 12 January 1936 in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district to a family of clerics. He had completed his basic studies in Srinagar and then got a law and postgraduate degree in Arabic from Aligarh Muslim University before joining politics. Politician Mehbooba Mufti is his daughter.
Political Party Affiliations
Mufti became a cabinet minister in 1972 and in 1975 leader of the state Congress legislative party.
Mohammad Sayeed had been a member of the Indian National Congress party until 1987. He is said to have brought about the downfall of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference government, which was led by Farooq Abdullah, in 1984. He joined Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1986 as Minister of Tourism.
In 1987, he quit the Congress party to join V. P. Singh’s Jan Morcha, which led to his becoming the first Muslim Minister for Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet of India in 1989.
He rejoined the Congress under P V Narasimha Rao which he left in 1999 along with his daughter Mehbooba Mufti to form his own party, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party.
Tenure as Chief Minister
First tenure (2002–2005): Mohammad Sayeed participated in the 2002 Assembly election and won 18 Assembly seats for his People’s Democratic Party. He went on to form a coalition government with the Indian National Congress and was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for a term of three years. In 2003, he merged the autonomous Special Operations Group with the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Second tenure (2015–2016): Following a coalition agreement between the BJP and the PDP, Sayeed undertook a second tenure as Chief Minister of the state.
Attacks on his Family and Himself
In 1989, within a few days of taking office as the Union Minister for Home Affairs, his third daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, was kidnapped. She was released in exchange for the release of five militants. Sayeed also survived attacks on his life by Kashmiri separatists.
On December 24, 2015, Sayeed was admitted to the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. He suffered from neck pain and fever. His condition gradually deteriorated, and he was put on ventilator support. He died on January 7, 2016, due to organ failure, according to provincial Education Minister and PDP Spokesman Nayeem Akhter.
Reactions to this death came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national Home Minister Rajnath Singh at Delhi airport. He was buried at his ancestral burial ground in Bijbehera with state honours. Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad were present at his funeral.
Condolences also came from President Pranab Mukherjee, former prime ministerial candidate L. K. Advani, Ram Madhav, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, former national Oil Minister Milind Deora, PDP member Rafiq Mir and politicians Kalraj Mishra, Jitendra Singh and Ahmed Patel.
According to a party member, Mehboob Ali Beg, the PDP supported his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti, as the next chief minister, while coalition ally BJP expressed “no objection” to her succeeding her father.