Srinagar: Incarcerated National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday received two unexpected visitors – his two sons, Zameer and Zahir.
The two reached Srinagar on the morning flight from New Delhi to meet their father at Hari Niwas, the state guest house which has been declared a jail by the government.
A security official told The Wire that an official vehicle was sent to pick up the two brothers from Srinagar airport. The vehicle was then driven straight to Hari Niwas, located in the foothills of the Zabarwan, with Dal Lake in the foreground.
“They (Zamir and Zahir) arrived here at around noon and stayed with father for over two hours,” said a CRPF official posted at the main entrance of Hari Niwas.
The brothers live with their mother Payal. “They (Zahir and Zameer) looked excited to meet their father,” said the CRPF official.
Hari Niwas was built as a palace by Jammu and Kashmir’s last Dogra ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh. It served as an infamous interrogation centre during the peak of militancy in 90s.
Omar, who is National Conference vice-president, has been kept in solitary confinement since August 5, the day government of India announced that it would read down Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcate the restive state into two Union Territories.
The move stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its separate flag and constitution.
Under detention for the past 68 days, Omar has grown a beard. His daily regimen includes regular workouts, watching movies and reading books. Cooked food is delivered to him regularly from his home.
Omar has been visited by his British-origin mother Molly a few times since she arrived in Srinagar last month, said the CRPF official. Molly made the journey to Srinagar to be with her ailing husband and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
The duo was photographed recently when a 15-member delegation of National Conference leaders from Jammu met Abdullah last week.
The senior Abdullah was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and remains detained at his Gupkar Road residence which was declared a ‘sub-jail’ by the state authorities last month.
An security guard said Omar’s sons did not visit Farooq’s Gupkar Road house, a few hundred metres from Hari Niwas.
Omar and Farooq are among hundreds of politicians who were either detained or put under house arrest by state authorities after New Delhi stripped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti is also in jail for the past 68 days. Her daughter Iltija has been frequently using her mother’s Twitter account to criticise New Delhi over it action in Jammu and Kashmir.