The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has allowed two National Conference MPs to meet party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, but barred them from speaking to the press about their meeting or their “deliberations” with them.
Following the Centre’s decision to scrap J&K’s special status, Farooq Abdullah has been placed under house arrest in Srinagar while Omar Abdullah has been detained at Hari Niwas.
On Wednesday, the court heard a petition filed by party MPs Justice (retd.) Hasnain Masoodi (Anantnag) and Akbar Lone (Baramulla), seeking permission to meet them. In their plea, the MPs alleged that the party’s top leadership had not been allowed to meet anyone.
While allowing the MPs to meet the Abdullahs, the single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar, in the order released on Thursday, said: “…the petitioners shall ensure that their meeting with their party president and vice-president is restricted to a courtesy call and to know about the well-being of the aforesaid two persons… the petitioners, after meeting their party president and vice-president, shall not go to press/ media regarding their meeting and deliberations with the aforesaid persons.”
The court asked the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar to take immediate steps to facilitate the meeting, preferably this week itself. “It would be appropriate if the petitioners are permitted to meet the aforesaid persons separately on different occasions, either on the same day or on different days,” it said.
The government, in its response to the MPs’ petition, had said there is “no formal restriction”. It said it was not averse to the meeting, but added that they should not “do anything aimed at vitiating the peaceful atmosphere”.