Fearing ‘politicisation’, Mehbooba refuses to meet party leaders

Srinagar, Oct 8: The incarcerated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti has refused to meet the party leaders fearing that the gesture might be “projected as a sign of normalcy” by the central government.

Hours after 18-member National Conference delegation met Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, authorities granted permission to the PDP leaders from Jammu to meet Mehbooba Mufti at Cheshmashahi sub-jail.

PDP leaders,however, deferred the meeting after Mehbooba turned down the request. 

 “She (Mehbooba) has told the party leaders she won’t meet them as that could be projected as a sign of normalcy by Centre. She believes that government had granted permission for the meeting as there is international pressure to lift communication gag and restore normalcy,” said a PDP leader, wishing not to be identified.

PDP spokesperson Firdous Ahmad Tak,however, gave a new spin to whole story by claiming that they (leaders) were undecided about meeting Mehbooba.

 “We will hold a meeting and then take a decision whether to meet Mehbooba or not. So far no dates have been finalised for the party meeting. Neither have we sought permission from government for meeting our president,” he said.

Tak, however, did not give any reasons for deferring the meeting with Mehbooba. “It happened and I can’t explain why,” he said.

A party source however said PDP leaders were divided about meeting Mehbooba in jail. “There are differences within the party ranks. One of the leaders claimed that a few party leaders took the decision without consulting others. Some believe that there is no fun in meeting Mehbooba because it won’t bear any results,” he said.

Mehbooba along with several party leaders have been detained by the administration on August 5, the day Government of India abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.

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