Dr Farooq, Omar meet party leaders in Srinagar

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Srinagar

A 15-member National Conference (NC) delegation on Sunday met with party president Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah , a day after governor Satya Pal Malik allowed the meeting.

After the meeting, senior NC leaders Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi told NDTV, “We had come to ask about their well-being. No politics was discussed”.

According to report the two leaders, however, said the party would not participate in the elections for the Block Development Council — the second tier of the Panchayat Raj system in the state — because the “entire leadership is in jail”.

National Provisional President Davender Singh Rana after meeting Farooq and Omar Abdullah told ANI that we are happy that they are both well and in high spirits, of course they are pained by the developments in the state.

“If the political process has to start then mainstream leaders have to be released,” said Rana.

Asked about the party’s stand on the upcoming Block Development Council (BDC) elections, Rana said for any political process to start in the state, the mainstream political leaders should be released first.

In case of NC, even if we want to contest the BDC elections, the 380 panchayats that exist, the mandate has to be signed by the party president who has been unfortunately detained under the PSA, he said.

The NC leader said the party’s working committee would decide on the future course of action whenever the party leaders including the NC president and vice-president would be released.

Let them be released, then the working committee of the party will meet and discuss and then we will formulate a strategy for the future, Rana said when questioned about the party’s future strategy.

Rana said,”After restrictions on political leaders in Jammu were removed, we held a meeting in which it was decided that we will approach governor (S P Malik) to seek his permission to have an audience with the president and the vice president of the party”.

“We are happy they are both well and in high spirits. Of course, they are pained and anguished about developments, particularly lockdown of the people,”said Devender Singh Raina while talking to reporters in Srinagar.

The government had relaxed the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir days after the announcement of the Block Development elections. While all detained political leaders in Jammu were released, Farooq Khan, advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik, said the Kashmiri leaders would be released in a phased manner.

Around 400 political leaders of the state – were placed under detention or house arrest as part of the statewide lockdown to prevent any backlash as the government announced its move to end special status granted to the state under the Article 370 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

The detentions in Kashmir took place on the eve of the government’s announcement — on August 4. While 81-year-old Farooq Abdullah was placed under house arrest at his Srinagar residence, Omar Abdullah was kept at a nearby state guest house, Hari Niwas.

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