After more than a year after they were detained following abrogation of the Article 370, four senior National Conference (NC) leaders on Thursday attended a meeting convened by party president Farooq Abdullah at his residence.
This is the first meeting of top leaders of NC leaders after 5 August last year when most opposition leaders were detained by the government.
Replying to a habeas corpus petition recently filed in the high court by Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah seeking release of these senior leaders, the Jammu and Kashmir administration denied the party’s claim that many of its leaders were in illegal confinement at their homes.
NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and former ministers Mohammad Shafi Uri, Abdul Rahim Rather and Nasir Sogami arrived for the meeting at Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence.
Sitting Lok Sabha member from North Kashmir Mohammad Akbar Lone also attended the meeting.
Farooq had on Wednesday decided to convene meeting of its senior leaders after the local administration had informed the High Court that none of the 16 leaders, that the party claimed were in illegal confinement, were detained and that they were free to move around.
Taking cognizance of the reply submitted by the J&K administration in the High Court, Farooq on Wednesday invited his colleagues for a meeting in batches of 4 keeping in mind COVID precautions. The first batch of leaders was invited today.
“National Conference has taken cognizance of the stand taken by the Government in High Court in the Habeas Corpus matters filed by the President and Vice President of the party for securing the liberty of various leaders of the party that have been under an illegal house detention,” a spokesman of the party said in a statement.
On a perusal of the reply, the spokesman said, the party has noticed that the government has unequivocally submitted before the High Court that the no leader is under detention and that they are free to move subject to necessary security arrangements.
“Now relying fully on the stand of the government before the HC that the members are free to move and expecting no hogwash on part of the government, the Party President Dr. Farooq Abdullah has invited senior party members including Ali Mohammad Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri and Nasir Aslam Wani for a meeting at his residence on Thursday at 5 pm.”
The party, the spokesman said, is mindful of the present pandemic and accordingly the meeting with various leaders that have been under detention will be done in batches of 4 members per meeting. “Needless to add that all SOPs shall be strictly followed by all concerned,” the spokesman said, adding,
“The Party is hopeful that the liberty of the members under detention is now absolute and the meeting is held successfully on the appointed day.”