SRI NAGAR: For the first time, authorities on Thursday barred the National Conference from holding congregational prayers at the mausoleum of party founder and former J&K chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 114th birth anniversary in Srinagar.Only individuals were given permissions to visit the mausoleum in Naseembagh, Hazratbal. While senior NC leader Hasnain Masoodi visited the grave and offered prayers, Sheikh’s son Mustafa Kamal and grandson Muzaffar Shah were stopped by policemen outside their residences when they tried to come out.
Later, Masoodi said the party had approached the administration for permission to hold a gathering at Sheikh’s mausoleum on his birth anniversary. Authorities denied permission to hold the gathering which was earlier allowed every year since the party founder’s death in 1982, he said.
Police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in strength in Hazratbal area and its adjoining areas for maintaining law and order and for foiling any attempt by NC workers and leaders to visit Sheikh’s graveyard. Concertina wires were placed outside the gate of the mausoleum to prevent any large congregation.
Sheikh’s son Farooq Abdullah and grandson Omar Abdullah are under detention ever since on August 5 when the Centre scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special privileges to J&K. The NC held a commemorative function to remember Sheikh Abdullah at its headquarters in Srinagar which was attended by scores of party functionaries and workers.
“The party used to observe Sheikh’s birth anniversary every year with much fervour and enthusiasm. However, workers and party functionaries made it a point to pay their tributes at party headquarters regardless of the curbs,” said NC MP Mohammad Akbar Lone.
Omar’s sons allowed to meet him
Authorities on Thursday allowed the two sons of detained NC vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah to meet him again. But, senior NC leader Hasnain Masoodi was not allowed to meet both the Abdullahs. Sources said Omar’s two sons met him at Hari Niwas Palace, where he is lodged since his detention on August 5. Zamir and Zahir visited their father Omar at around noon and stayed with him for over two hours. Both sons of Omar live with their mother Payal in Delhi. Masoodi said he has not been allowed to meet the Abdullahs for last two months. “I, being a lawyer, wanted to visit them to discuss legal issues with them.
However, the district administration has not permitted me to visit the former detained CMs to discuss legal issues concerning their detention,” Masoodi told this newspaper. The NC leader said he told the administration that he was going to visit the Abdullahs Farooq or Omar in the capacity of a legal expert. “Despite being their counsel and sitting MP from Anantnag, authorities are not allowing me to meet Farooq and Omar,” Masoodi said, adding that he would again meet the Srinagar DC for meeting the Abdullahs.