The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday granted permission to a delegation of leaders from the National Conference’s Jammu unit to meet the party’s President Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah, PTI reported.
Both the leaders have been under detention in Srinagar since the state lost its special constitutional status in August. Farooq Abdullah 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 delegation led by provincial president Devender Singh Rana and comprising former party legislators will fly from Jammu tomorrow morning,” National Conference Spokesperson Madan Mantoo said.
Rana had sought permission from Governor Satya Pal Malik for the meeting on Thursday.
The National Conference leaders in the region had 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 had 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”.
At the meeting, the leaders had also 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 had said.
An adviser to Governor Malik had on Thursday said that the political leaders detained in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner. A day earlier, the state administration had ended the house arrest of all politicians in Jammu. The release 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.
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