Kashmir Indepth

J&K High Court directs authorities to allow NC leaders to meet Omar, Farooq Abdullah


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SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed authorities to arrange a meeting of two National Conference Parliament members with their detained party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah in Srinagar at the earliest.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar asked Srinagar’s deputy commissioner, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, to convey the dates of the meetings to Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone. He barred them from sharing details of their meetings with the press. “The meeting shall be related to a courtesy call and to know about the well being of the persons under detention.

After the meeting, the petitioners shall not go the press to share details and deliberations with the detained leaders”, the court said.

Earlier, Justice Kumar allowed a petition of Masoodi and Lone seeking directions for their meetings with their party leaders. It has asked a government lawyer to seek instruction from the state government regarding the detention of NC president Farooq Abdullah and his son and party vice-president, Omar Abdullah.

In their petition, Masoodi and Lone said they have not been allowed to meet their two leaders. Three former chief ministers, including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, were among hundreds of people detained as a lockdown and communication blackout was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

The curbs were imposed to prevent protests after the Centre abrogated constitutional provisions under Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir a measure of autonomy and prevented non-residents from buying property and getting government jobs there. The Centre also bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories on August 5.

Farooq Abdullah is under house arrest while Omar Abdullah has been detained at a government building that has been declared as sub-jail. Omar Abdullah’s sister, Safiya, her children and aunt, Suriya, were allowed to meet him last month. Another former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s sister and mother have also met the detained former chief minister.

Over 50 politicians remain detained at Srinagar’s Centaur hotel that has also been declared a sub-jail. The Supreme Court late last month allowed Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to meet his party’s former lawmaker Yusuf Tarigami, who was under house arrest in Srinagar. Tarigami has since been shifted to Delhi for treatment on the top court’s instructions.

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