Amid the charged political atmosphere for the 17th Lok Sabha elections, fourth death anniversary of Abdul Gani Veeri, a political stalwart from South Kashmir is being observed in his hometown of Bijbehara.
Veeri represented the Bijbehara assembly constituency for three consecutive times and was closely associated with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah during the Plebiscite Movement. He played a pioneering role in the Quit Kashmir movement.
Veeri, during his teenage, was motivated by the idea of democratic rule in Kashmir and he associated himself with the local Kashmir brigade. He was against inequality, oppression, and suppression unleashed by the undemocratic regimes in Kashmir. Therefore, he was naturally titled towards the philosophy of National Conference. Along with the cadres of the National Conference, Veeri was incarcerated several times during Plebiscite Movement. From the very beginning of his political career, in-spite of little formal education, Veeri was known for his radical thinking and commitment towards the service to his own people.
His involvement for the Kashmir cause can be gauged from the fact that Veeri could not visit his home village Veeri for 14 long years after 1950. He was first jailed along with Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah in early 1950s. Later he was released from the jail in late 1950 after which he joined the plebiscite front which was launched by Mirza Afzal Beg in 1955.
Veeri, according to the family members, was deeply attached to the core idea of National Conference. He declined several lucrative offers for changing his political lineage. These offers included huge money and land to his name. All these offers were made because Veeri was a leader of masses with a strong grassroots cadre base. He defeated the former Chief Minister of J&K Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed twice from the Bijbehara constituency.
Veeri’s ground support was based on his social and developmental works undertaken in the Bijbehara constituency under his watch. He laid the foundations for the canal system in the area and brought large un-irrigated lands under the cover of irrigation.
Veeri’s commitment and dedication finds praise from his former adversaries. On the eve of his death on 21st April 2015 Mufti sahab said: “Veeri sahab was always connected with the grassroots and worked tirelessly for the upliftment of downtrodden and weaker sections of the society”.
My father as a close associate of late Haji Veeri has relived me his contributions for development of area and upliftment of society by late Haji veeri at several occasions which has inspired me to trace the works done by late leader so, am paying my tribute to him from this article.
(Author is a social worker, son of close associate of Haji Veeri)