- Omar Abdullah, sporting a beard, clicked selfies with the leaders
- He and his father Farooq Abdullah met National Conference delegation
- "We had come to ask about their well-being," said Hasnain Masoodi
National Conference chief Omar Abdullah and his father and party patriarch Farooq Abdullah were allowed to meet their party leaders for the first time on Sunday since he was put in detention two months ago. 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".
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".
During the meeting, Omar Abdullah, sporting a beard, clicked selfies with the leaders.
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.
Yesterday, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said, "Very soon they will have their freedom. We want normal political activity to be restored in the state. But it has to be normal political activity".
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.
PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone were also detained.
Today, the Abdullahs also met a 15-member delegation from their party, led by provincial president Devender Singh Rana. After meeting both leaders, Mr Rana said for any political process to begin, the party leaders need to be released.
There is "anguish" in the Kashmir valley regarding the lockdown, he said.
"We, as a party, appeal that for the political process to start and democracy to revive in Jammu and Kashmir, political detenues anywhere and everywhere -- be it mainstream political parties or otherwise, who have no criminal record -- may be released," he added.
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