SRINAGAR – Detained National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah were in high spirits, but pained and anguished over the prevailing situation. This was stated by a senior party leader from Jammu who met the father son duo in Srinagar on Sunday.
A 15-member National Conference delegation, comprising senior leaders of the Jammu region, led by provincial president Devender Singh Rana met Dr Farooq and Omar Abdullah two months after their detention.
Omar has been detained at Hari Niwas since August 5, the day the Centre abrogated Article 370. After spending over 30 minutes with the former chief minister, the NC leaders drove to the nearby Gupkar Road residence of NC chief Farooq Abdullah, who is being held under the stringent Public Safety Act. Separately, NC MPs Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone also met the Abdullahs.
While talking to the waiting media persons, Rana pitched for immediate release of political leaders of all maintstream parties to restore the democratic process in the State.
When asked about the future political strategy of the party, Rana said that as and when the detained party leaders are released the Working Committee, which is the apex body of the party, will sit and have a detailed review of the situation and developments taking place and decide political roadmap for the party.
To a question by a reporter on the proposed elections to Block Development Councils, Rana quipped: “How can we even think on these lines at this juncture as the party leadership is under detention. Elections are contested by adopting a process, which entails selection, consideration and nomination of candidates. This is not possible in the prevailing situation when the party leaders from the State President down below to Block Presidents are under detention in the Kashmir valley. He said the BDC polls are being fought in 316 blocks and if any political party has to contest these elections it is required that 316 Blocks are politically functional.
To another question, Rana reiterated that National Conference will continue to strive for communal harmony, peace, unity and preserving the pluralistic ethos of Jammu and Kashmir, a shining and glorious legacy bequeathed by patry founder Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. He said the party has all along worked towards safeguarding the rights, culture and identity of the people besides fulfilling their aspirations, which it will continue to do. He said welfare and well-being of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been guiding philosophy of National Conference and the party will work towards this objective single-mindedly and with a sense of commitment.
Rana and the other members of the delegation wished Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah all the well, saying the entire cadre across the State is standing behind them like a rock.
The delegation comprised former legislators, Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Surjeet Singh Slathia, Rattan Lal Gupta, Rachpal Singh, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo, Javed Rana, Mushtaq Bukhari, Babu Rampaul, Ajaz Jan, Kashmira Singh, Tarlochan Singh Wazir, Brij Mohan Sharma, Chaman Lal Bhagat and Vijay Bakaya.
Meanwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said that a 16-member delegation comprising senior party leaders and former legislators would leave for Srinagar on Monday morning to meet party chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is also under detention since August 5, PTI reported late at night that the meeting had been deferred. There was no official word on the reason, or when the PDP leaders would go now.
It would also be the first meeting of PDP leaders from Jammu province with Mufti since her detention.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government had earlier permitted the NC delegation to meet the detained leaders after a request was made to Governor Satya Pal Malik soon after the lifting of restrictions on the movement of Jammu based prominent leaders.