NC team meets Farooq & Omar, demands release Pandit-Muslim feasts in Valley for Navaratri
Srinagar: National Conference on Sunday demanded that its party president Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, both under detention for over two months since the
Centre’s August 5 announcement on nullification of Articles 370 and 35A, be released ahead of the Block Development Council polls in Jammu & Kashmir on October 24.
The demand after the administration allowed a 15member party delegation to meet the two former NC CMs. As
the Valley’s first Navaratri since the annulment of Article 370 comes to an end, hundreds of Pandits and Muslims on Sunday came together to partake of community feasts in the Valley’s prominent temples and shrines. The administration also gave permission to a delegation of Peoples Democratic Party leaders to meet party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday. Mehbooba, too, was put under detention hours before the August 5 announcement.
PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinging will also pack in an hour-long tour of Mamallapuram’s three famous monuments and a cultural programme. Another round of diplomatic strife, this time over India’s ongoing military exercise in Arunachal, has further delayed the announcement of Xi’s visit but both sides seemed confident on Sunday of the summit proceeding. The summit has come at a time the bilateral relationship faces its most testing period since the Doklam standoff with China seen to be siding with Pakistan on the changes in J&K with regard to the scrapping of the state’s special status.
Ahead of the summit, TOI got an exclusive and comprehensive peek into the programme, which seems designed to allow Modi and Xi to spend as much time as possible in private. The ‘Wuhan’-type discussion is intended to allow the two leaders to traverse a wide range of geo-political subjects. The leaders will officially start the informal summit on Friday at 5 pm with an hour-long tour of monuments — Arjuna’s Penance, Panch Rathas and Shore Temple — in Mamallapuram. This will be followed with a cultural programme they will together attend at the Shore Temple.
Xi and Modi will then round off the day with a private dinner which the latter will host, again at Shore Temple. Xi will then return to his hotel in Chennai.
The leaders will start the next day at 10 am with an informal chat in the gardens of a five-star resort. This meeting, expected to last for at least 40 minutes, is where Xi and Modi will exchange their world views in private, like they did on a boat ride in Wuhan last year. This will be, as a source put it, an unscripted meeting where the leaders will focus on the big picture without getting distracted by finer details of complexities which have impaired ties in the recent past.
The nitty-gritty will be reserved for the next round at the same venue — the formal delegation-level talks — which will seek to generate some takeaways, perhaps the most challenging aspect of the second informal summit. At Wuhan, the two sides had issued “strategic guidance” to their militaries to build trust and enhance predictability in management of border affairs, a significant outcome post-Doklam. After these talks, Modi will again meet Xi over lunch, at the same resort, before Xi departs for the airport. In all, the leaders will spend close to seven hours together.