A day after the arrival of the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to New Delhi, the government in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, allowed the separatist Hurriyat Conference to conduct an official meeting in Srinagar. In the meeting, the leaders demanded release of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from his house arrest.
The Hurriyat issued a statement about the meeting saying it was held at the residence of Hurriyat Executive member Bilal Gani Lone. Hours after the meeting, a senior Hurriyat leader said that the meeting shouldn’t be linked with any outside pressure. “We have been meeting unofficially,” he said.
In a statement, the Hurriyat Conference said, “All Parties Hurriyat conference executive members Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Lone, and Masroor Abaas Ansari held an urgent meeting at Bilal Lone's residence after they were denied permission to meet Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.”
The statement added, “APHC executive members strongly condemned Mirwaiz’s continued and arbitrary house detention since August 2019. Outside Mirwaiz's residence, mobile bunkers and armed vehicles have been stationed, manned by CRPF and state police personnel, and the road is partially blocked from both sides and no one is allowed to go inside. The members said when they went to meet the chairman to inquire about his health post his Covid-19 recovery, the armed personnel stationed outside stopped them and send them away.”
“This despotic attitude of the ruling class towards the APHC chairman is highly regrettable. They lamented that all his human and fundamental rights and civil liberties stand completely curbed for the last two years. He has been caged inside his home- arbitrarily at the will of the rulers, for firmly standing by the Hurriyat’s principled stand of peaceful resolution of Kashmir conflict following the people's aspirations.”
“APHC executive members said that they seek his immediate release from illegal arbitrary house detention by the state authorities, and appealed to all rights activists and organizations and al democracies of the world to ensure his release and restoration of his human rights.”