Syed Junaid Hashmi
JAMMU, Dec 13: The controversy surrounding death of iconic Kashmiri leader and founder of National Conference Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was never put to rest since neither his son, Dr. Farooq Abdullah nor his grandson Omar Abdullah ever thought of ordering an in-depth probe.
Both Dr. Farooq Abdullah and his son, Omar Abdullah served as Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir during the last 35 years. But they never thought of ordering an inquiry into the death of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. Ex-Minister Hakeem Mohammed Yasin, who now heads Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Front (JKPDF) who was then an MLA of National Conference told The Straight Line (TSL) that some questions were raised over death of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah.
“He was the tallest leader of Jammu and Kashmir. People loved and respected him. His death came as a rude shock. People could not believe that Sheikh Sahab was no more. We, as MLAs, heard that the X-Ray of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah had been changed. We all wanted the death to be probed but the probe was never ordered,” said Yasin. He said that times have changed and not much can be done now about the death of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah.
However, Sheikh Abdullah’s son and Additional General Secretary of National Conference (NC) Dr. Mustafa Kamal said that there was some clamor over the chest x-ray of Sheikh Sahab. “But the clamor was more because sheikh sahab was a towering personality and a mass leader. No one was ready to accept that Sheikh Sahab was no more. So, the change in X-ray was a big issue and people demanded thorough probe,” said Dr. Mustafa Kamal.
Since I am myself from the medical profession, I can say with some level of authority that X-Ray was not a big issue and medical management plan is not prepared merely on the basis of chest x-ray, said Dr. Mustafa Kamal. But what had compelled ex-Director General and Special Secretary Health Dr. Ali Baksh to address a press conference, after 26 years in year 2009 and allege that Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah’s X-Ray was changed which resulted in wrong diagnosis and ultimately resulted in the death of the Jammu and Kashmir’s tallest leader on September 8, 1982 is a puzzling question.
Dr. Ali Baksh, who passed away on April 6, 2014; had alleged that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s treatment during his last days was bungled in a way that proper diagnosis and treatment was jeopardized by one doctors at the behest of some vested interests. He had alleged that Dr. VP Gupta, the then Medical Superintendent SKIMS had changed the first ever X-Ray taken on the first X-Ray machine of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah which led to the faulty diagnosis and wrong treatment leading to his untimely demise.
He had alleged that the Chest X-Ray of Sheikh Abdullah was replaced by a normal person’s X-Ray, which was later detected by Dr. Ali Jan. Dr. Ali Baksh was then Director Health Services (DHS) Kashmir at that time (1982). He had alleged that Dr. Ali Jan who was the treating physician was misled by Dr. Gupta’s changed X-Ray which led to collapse of Sher-e-Kashmir.
He had also made several other allegations against Dr Gupta, who had retired in the year 2004 and alleged that all inquiry reports against Dr. Gupta were finally dumped without any action. He had alleged that some “agency” wanted to hasten the demise of Sher-i-Kashmir to create an atmosphere of instability in the state.
He had claimed that suspicion arose about the conduct of Dr. VP Gupta’s role in Sher-e-Kashmir’s untimely demise when he conducted four inquiries against Dr. Gupta and found his deep involvement in running the narco-trade, militant-health official nexus, purchase of banned/narco drugs and shielding of Gool-Gulabgarh accident culprits. Dr. Ali Baksh had accused Dr. V.P.Gupta of being involved in the purchase of drugs at double the cost of retail and other criminal activities.
Late Dr. Ali Baksh had even claimed that inquiry reports were submitted to the government with conclusive evidence but no action was taken and filed disappeared mysteriously. Late Dr. Ali Baksh was the son of late Brigadier Khuda Baksh and brother of ex-Congress Minister Taj Mohuddin.
However, Dr Gupta denied the allegations blaming it on personal rivalry. “I would not have enjoyed prime postings during Farooq Abdullah’s tenure if I had been anyway involved in the replacement of the Sheikh’s x-rays.” He said the two inquiries into the death of the Sheikh had never indicted him as he was a Medical Superintendent and not a physician. “Moreover, Sheikh Abdullah was never treated at the SKIMS, which was commissioned only on December 5, 1982, three months after his death. The mysterious x-ray was also taken sometime in July 1982,” explained Dr Gupta.