Government approaches Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti; requests cooperation
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, have been cut off from the rest of the world since August 4, a day before BJP-led Centre made its massive Kashmir move. For the first time since their detention, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reached out to them. Reports said the leaders were approached in the last two days.
Context: Centre detained politicians before revoking J&K's special status
Abdullah, Mufti, and several other local politicians of J&K were detained earlier this month. The Centre took this "precautionary" measure to ensure peace is not disrupted with its decision to revoke special status of J&K, and dividing the state into two UTs. While Abdullah, a leader of National Conference, has been put in Hari Niwas Palace, PDP's Mufti is at Chashme Shahi in Srinagar.
Government knows lockdown can't go on forever
Sources told Indian Express, the lockdown can not go on forever. Hence, it is important to talk to local politicians. "There has been some movement to sound out the two leaders for possible easing of restrictions on them. There is a need to create space," the person said. Another source said it is important that politicians deliver the right message.
What they might say after release is worrying the government
The government is worried about what Abdullah and Mufti might say after being released. "There is considerable caution. The government is trying to speak with them, but it may be a while before they are fully released," the source told IE.
PDP leader confirmed officials met Abdullah and Mufti
Meanwhile, PDP sources told TOI, some "government officials" had a word with both Abdullah and Mufti. The officials asked the former CMs to "cooperate" in restoring peace in J&K particularly in valley, when the restrictions on them are lifted. "But both the leaders refused to budge from their stand against Parliament's decision to nullify Article 370," a PDP leader told the daily.
Further, political observer said their release won't make a difference
Notably, political analyst Majid Hyderi told TOI, Abdullah and Mufti's release will have little effect on residents of J&K. "Kashmiri people are an angry lot and they seem to have lost faith in mainstream politics now. Even if Abdullah and Mufti are released from detention, people will not listen to them," Hyderi said. They are discredited leaders because they took BJP's help, he underlined.
Meanwhile, video games is keeping Abdullah busy in detention
Abdullah, who has a penchant for technology, is spending time in detention playing video games, an India Today report said. He has also watched many Hollywood movies recently and works out at the gym too. Abdullah is also known to take a stroll at palace gardens. And his political rival, Mufti, is keeping herself busy with praying and reading.