IN THE first major political activity in Jammu and Kashmir since withdrawal of its Special Status two months ago, a 15-member National Conference delegation on Sunday met detained party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah here, while the PDP said its leaders from Jammu have also been allowed to meet party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday.
The NC delegation, which was permitted by the Jammu and Kashmir administration to meet the Abdullahs for the first time since their detention, demanded that their leaders and other political detainees be freed to “revive” the political process in the State, where Block Development Council (BDC) elections are scheduled for October 24.
The leaders said they discussed developments in the state and upcoming local body polls during their separate meetings with National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and his son and party vice president Omar Abdullah. Omar, who was sporting a beard, was seen clicking a selfie with party leaders whom he met for over 30 minutes at Hari Niwas Palace where he has been kept in detention.
The delegation then drove to Farooq Abdullah’s residence. He was earlier in preventive custody but later detained under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah, with wife Molly Abdullah by his side, showed the victory sign and waved to the media as the NC leaders met him.
“We are happy they are both well and in high spirits. Of course, they are pained and anguished about developments, particularly lockdown of the people,” the NC’s Jammu chief Davinder Singh Rana who led the party delegation said. This was the first meeting of Omar with a party delegation after he was detained on August 5 along with other political leaders of the state and separatists following the Centre’s decision to revoke special status to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Emerging after the meeting, Rana told reporters that for any political process to begin, the leaders of the party need to be released. There is “anguish about developments particularly about lockdown of the people and we, as a party, appeal that the political process to start and democracy to revive in Jammu and Kashmir.