Detained former J&K CMs Omar, Mehbooba allowed to meet families
Nearly a month after being placed under house arrest, former Jammu & Kashmir chief ministers, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehooba Mufti, have been reportedly allowed to meet their families. They were taken into custody on August 5 as "precautionary measure" amid tensions before the Center announced the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories.
While Omar is lodged at Hari Niwas Palace in Srinagar, Mehbooba is at a tourism department property in Chesmashahi. Both the properties have now been declared as sub-jails. Omar's family was allowed to meet him twice last week. His sister Safia and her children also met him for 20 minutes on Saturday. Mehbooba's mother and sister met her on Thursday, according to sources.
Omar's relatives were allowed to meet him after visiting the Deputy Commissioner's office several times. They were first permitted to speak to him on August 12 (Eid) when he was allowed access to a telephone. However, repeated requests of his father and three-time J&K CM, Farooq Abdullah, who is under house arrest without access to a phone, to meet his son were denied.
According to sources, neither Omar nor Mehbooba were granted access to cable, news channels, and newspapers. However, Omar was provided access to a DVD player to watch movies. Omar is reportedly passing his time by reading books on his Kindle tablet, working out at the gym, and going on regular walks on the Hari Niwas premises, while Mehbooba is spending the most time reading.
Though authorities said that Kashmir is limping back to normalcy gradually, there has so far been no indication of the detained political leaders and local activists being released soon. Recently, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik also joked that the confinement would be beneficial for Omar and Mehbooba as it could even help them gain more votes once they are released.