The administration of Governor Satya Pal Malik in Jammu and Kashmir has given permission to a delegation of leaders from the National Conference to meet their party president Dr Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah, who are under detention in the Kashmir Valley.
“The delegation led by provincial president Mr Devender Singh Rana and comprising former party legislators will leave for Srinagar by an IndiGo flight from Jammu on Sunday morning,” party spokesperson Madan Mantoo said in Jammu on Saturday afternoon.
Mantoo said the permission to meet the two leaders under detention was conveyed to Rana by a senior official in the administration on Friday evening.
A day after he was himself allowed to move out of home after nearly two months, Rana had, on Thursday, asked Governor Malik to allow an NC delegation to meet the party’s president and vice president so they could decide the next political steps.
Rana, who also happens to be the younger brother of Union Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, was among the nearly a dozen mainstream politicians who were made to stay indoors by the administration after the removal of special status under Article 370 on August 5.
Restrictions on Rana and nearly a dozen other Opposition leaders in Jammu were lifted on Wednesday evening. Mainstream politicians in Kashmir continue to be under detention. Farooq Abdullah has been detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The day after the restrictions on him were lifted, Rana chaired a meeting of senior NC leaders, which unanimously adopted a resolution expressing “concern over the situation in the wake of unfortunate political developments during the past two months”.
The meeting expressed “anguish over the continued detention of senior leaders of National Conference and other mainstream political parties in Kashmir, including Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah”. They appealed to the Governor to allow a delegation to meet them, saying “the party will chalk out the future course of action after meeting the top leadership”.
The NC leaders sought the immediate release of all political leaders and the withdrawal of restrictions on free movement and expression, and called for “ensuring liberty by restoring democracy”.
They condemned the detention of Farooq Abdullah under the PSA “notwithstanding his immense and crucial role in democratic polity of the country and contribution in steering the state to peace, progress and development, braving all odds”, and sought the immediate release of not just the Abdullahs, but of all detained political leaders.
They also 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”, and said they would work to “safeguard the interests of the people of the state” so “they are not deprived of their rights and privileges”.
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