A tremendous ovation awaited Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, former Prime Minister of Kashmir, when he was released from prison in Jammu on Wednesday after nearly eleven years.
A tremendous ovation awaited Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, former Prime Minister of Kashmir, when he was released from prison in Jammu on Wednesday after nearly eleven years. After leaving the special court where charges of conspiracy against him were dropped, Sheikh Abdullah - dubbed by his supporters as "Lion of Kashmir" - was driven through Jammu in an open vehicle to the cheers of thousands of Moslems.
The six-foot tall Sheikh played a leading role in Kashmir's accession to India in 1947, but after he became Prime Minister criticised alleged discrimination against Moslems in India. Friction within his own party culminated in his arrest in August, 1953. He was held without any charges being made against him until 1958 when he was released, but re-arrested four months later. He was then charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Kashmir Government and facilitate the state's accession to Pakistan. He has been on trial since then.
The ultimate fate of Kashmir is still in dispute between India and Kashmir. At a press conference after his release, Sheikh Abdullah declined to commit himself on the Kashmir dispute. He leaves Jammu tomorrow (Saturday) en route for the capital, Srinagar.