The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Thursday urged Governor Satya Pal Malik to allow a delegation of senior party leaders to meet party President Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah, PTI reported.

Both the leaders have been under detention in Srinagar after the state lost its special constitutional status. Farooq Abullah has been charged under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows authorities to detain a person for six months without trial.

The National Conference leaders in the region convened a meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan where they reiterated that dissent was the core of democracy, and expressed concern over the political situation in the state. The leaders sought immediate release of all the politicians under detention, withdrawal of restrictions on free movement and expression, and called for “ensuring liberty by restoring democracy”.

A party spokesperson said they will chalk out the future course of action after meeting the top leadership.

He added that the leaders in the meeting “pledged to strengthen bonds of communal harmony, unity, togetherness and inclusive democratic polity – a long-cherished agenda set for the state by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah”.

The leaders acknowledged the crucial role played by the National Conference in democratic polity of the country and their contribution in steering the state to peace, progress and development despite all the odds. “The party leaders expressed disappointment over continued detention of senior leaders, including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, as also the other top leaders of the mainstream political parties,” the spokesperson said.

An adviser to Governor Malik on Thursday said that the political leaders detained in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner. “Yes, one by one after analysis of every individual, they will be released,” Farooq Khan, adviser to the governor, had said in response to a question about when politicians in Kashmir will be freed.

A day earlier, the state administration ended the house arrest of all politicians in Jammu.

The release of leaders came days after the state Election Commission announced elections to block development councils. On Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Ram Madhav had said “only 200 to 250 people” were still in preventive detention in the state. He claimed these leaders were living “in five-star guest houses, some in five-star hotels”.

According to some estimates, almost 400 top politicians in the state were detained following the Centre’s crackdown. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were also taken into custody or put under house arrest.

Last month, Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti had sought information on detentions in the state on behalf of her mother. She also asked for details of detenues moved out of the state, the number of deaths, people booked under the Public Safety Act, and areas that are still under prohibitory orders.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.