New Delhi: Nearly a month later, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti have been allowed to meet their family and relatives, reports suggest.
The two former state Chief Ministers had been placed under house arrest since August 5. They were taken into custody as a “precautionary measure” in the light of the central government’s decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
If reports are to be believed, Abdullah met his family twice this week at Hari Niwas in Srinagar, where he was shifted after the Centre’s move. According to a leading portal, his sister Safia, and her children were allowed to meet the NC leader, who has now grown a beard, for 20 minutes on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mufti’s mother and sister were allowed to meet her on Thursday, at a tourism department property in Chesmashahi where she was lodged, that has now been declared a sub-jail.
The two prominent Kashmir leaders have been devoid of cable, news channels and newspapers. As a result, Abdullah has been binge-watching Hollywood movies, in a DVD player provided to him, and hitting the gym whereas Mehbooba Mufti at Chashme Shahi is passing her time by reading.
While Kashmir is gradually limping its way back to normalcy, there has been no indication thus far of the detained political leaders and activists being released soon. Moreover, Governor Satya Pal Malik even joked saying that the confinement was beneficial for the two as it could help them win more votes once they are released.
On August 6 the Parliament passed a resolution supporting the presidential order of scrapping the provisions of Article 370, and on August 10, the National Conference moved the Supreme Court against it.
The petition sought the top court’s response to “whether the Union Government can unilaterally unravel this unique federal scheme, under cover of President’s Rule, while undermining crucial elements of due process and the rule of law. This case, therefore, goes to the heart of Indian federalism, democratic processes and the role of the Supreme Court as the guardian of the federal structure”.