Mehbooba Mufti: Navigating Turbulent Terrain as a Leader
Mehbooba Mufti, born on May 22, 1959, stands as a notable Indian politician renowned for her resilience, dedication to public service, and significant role in the intricate political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. Serving as the first female Chief Minister of the state, her journey unfolds against a backdrop of challenges, achievements, and an unwavering commitment to the welfare of her people.
Early Life and Education
Born into a politically influential family in Akhran Nowpora, Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Gulshan Ara, exhibited an early passion for the environment and animals. Her academic pursuits included English literature at the Government College for Women in Jammu, followed by a law degree from the University of Kashmir. This educational foundation not only equipped her for the complexities of politics but also underscored her commitment to personal growth and education.
Mehbooba Mufti’s personal life reflects her nurturing and caring nature, evident in her relationship with her two daughters, Iltija and Irtiqa. Her ex-husband, a political analyst and animal rights activist, briefly associated with the National Conference party, adding another layer of political depth to her personal narrative.
Shaped by the political legacy of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba Mufti’s political journey commenced in 1996 when she was elected as a member of the state assembly from Bijbehara, contesting on an Indian National Congress ticket. As the leader of the opposition, she effectively challenged Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, hinting at her potential as a future leader.
Over the years, her political journey unfolded with various electoral victories, including winning the Pahalgam seat in the state assembly, securing victories in parliamentary elections, and ultimately becoming the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016.
Challenges and Resignation
Mehbooba Mufti faced significant challenges during her tenure as Chief Minister, notably within the PDP-BJP alliance. Tensions escalated in 2018, leading to the BJP’s withdrawal from the alliance after two ministers expressed support for a man accused of a heinous crime. Subsequently, she resigned, emphasising that a “muscular policy” would not be effective in Kashmir.
Her attempt to suspend security operations during Ramadan faced setbacks, and security conditions continued to deteriorate. The resignation marked a crucial juncture in her political career.
Detention and Release
Following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019, Mehbooba Mufti was detained by the Central government. Her daughter, Iltija Mufti, assumed control of her Twitter account, becoming her voice during this period. Subsequently, she faced further detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act until her release in October 2020, prompted by the Supreme Court questioning the duration of her detention.
Continued Political Involvement
Mehbooba Mufti’s enduring involvement in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape showcases her resilience and commitment to the region’s welfare. Her journey remains a testament to her dedication to the people and her unwavering pursuit of justice and peace in one of India’s most complex and sensitive regions.