Srinagar- PDP president Mehbooba Mufti was the only notable absentee from the “high tea” party hosted by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday.
Sinha invited heads of various political parties in the union territory for a meeting to discuss the prevailing situation including the Amarnath Yatra scheduled to begin Thursday, officials said.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, J-K BJP chief Ravinder Raina and Congress president G A Mir were among the notable leaders who attended the meeting.
A spokesperson of the PDP said it was strange that the office of the Lt Governor was inviting leaders for a high tea meeting at such a sensitive time.
“If there were something to be discussed, an agenda should have been set for the meeting,” PDP chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said.
Earlier, reacting to the invitation, Bukhari tweeted, “For a meeting in the evening that is supposed to be a serious affair, the invitation is sent in the morning. What a mockery! By the way what happened to the outcome of the all parties meeting chaired by @PMOIndia in which @OfficeOfLGJandK and @HMOIndia was also present?”
He also said it was ironic that the security apparatus denied Mehbooba permission to visit her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s grave in Anantnag district on the same day when the administration was inviting her for the meeting.
Abdullah, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, said he has received the invitation but has not been informed about its agenda.
“I arrived from Delhi today only. I have received the card but the agenda is not mentioned. I will go there and find out what is it all about,” he said.
The Congress also lamented that no agenda was fixed for the meeting.
CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami told Kashmir Observer that the meeting lasted for over an hour in which arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra were discussed.
He said the LG sought the suggestion from all the political leaders regarding the smooth conduct for the Yatra.
“This was the common opinion of all the political leaders that the yatra is the part of cultural ethos of Kashmiri society,” Tarigami said, adding that the leaders also wished that the Yatra should become a medium for bringing people of Kashmir close to New Delhi rather than widening the gap.
Tarigami, who is also the spokesperson of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is a political alliance between the several regional political parties-told Kashmir Observer that the leaders also apprised LG that the Yatra shouldn’t hit the daily affairs of the people.
Tarigami said LG didn’t discuss anything about the political or security situation of Jammu and Kashmir and left after a cup of tea.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued here, an official spokesperson said that the LG held a meeting with senior political leaders to discuss arrangements and management of Amarnath Yatra.
Sinha, he said, observed that sacred pilgrimage strengthens our faith in the goodness of mankind & its successful conduct is responsibility of every citizen of J&K UT.
“Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra is a reflection of our composite culture and people belonging to all the faiths are contributing to make it successful,” the LG said.
According to the spokesperson, all the senior leaders in the meeting spoke in one voice and observed that Amarnath Yatra is like a big festival, a celebration of Kashmiriyat for common man of J&K and each & every citizen of UT will ensure warm hospitality & comfort of the pilgrims
He said that the senior leaders appealed to the people for their continuous support and assistance in the conduct of the Yatra, which is pride of Jammu Kashmir and reflection of unity in diversity.
“The senior leaders also observed that Yatra is a vital part of J&K’s economy and livelihood source for a large number of local people,” he added.
According to the spokesperson, the LG also apprised the meeting about the arrangements put in place for the pilgrimage, besides special places identified at all Yatra Camps for selling local products, including famous art and handicrafts of Jammu Kashmir.
“All the senior leaders of prominent political parties of J&K put forth their views and suggestions for the smooth and successful conduct of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra,” he said, adding that the LG said a similar meeting would be held after 10 days of Yatra.
Other political leaders who participated in the meeting included Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Muzzafar Shah, Altaf Bukhari, Hakeem Mohd Yaseen and GM Shaheen. (With PTI inputs)
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