NC, Congress, BJP chiefs attend ‘high tea’ meeting with J&K LG to discuss Amarnath Yatra; Mehbooba skips

SRINAGAR: Leaders of many mainstream Jammu and Kashmir political parties on Wednesday attended a "high tea" meeting with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan here where smooth conduct of the Amarnath Yatra was discussed.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti skipped the meeting.

Sinha invited heads of various political parties in the union territory for a meeting to discuss the prevailing situation including the pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina and Congress president G A Mir were among the notable leaders who attended the meeting.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, the participants said the Lt Governor sought cooperation from political parties in ensuring smooth conduct of the yatra.

"The senior leaders assured the LG of their support. They said Amarnath Yatra is part of cultural heritage of Kashmir and people will make it a success," J&K BJP president Raina said.

Congress leader Mir said while the leaders assured of cooperation, they also highlighted the need to ease the restrictions along the highway, where the yatra will pass.

"We told the LG about the need to look into the stringent measures. There are emergency cases which need to be considered," Mir added.

Amarnath Yatra will begin on Thursday.

Earlier, the PDP said it was strange that the office of the Lt Governor was inviting leaders for a "high tea" meeting at such a "sensitive time".

"If there were something to be discussed, an agenda should have been set for the meeting," PDP chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said.

Reacting to the invitation, Bukhari tweeted, "For a meeting in the evening that is supposed to be a serious affair, the invitation is sent in the morning. What a mockery! By the way what happened to the outcome of the all parties meeting chaired by @PMOIndia in which @OfficeOfLGJandK and @HMOIndia was also present?" He also said it was ironic that the security apparatus denied Mehbooba permission to visit her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's grave in Anantnag district on the same day when the administration was inviting her for the meeting.

NC chief Abdullah, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, said he received the invitation but was not informed about its agenda.

"I arrived from Delhi today only. I have received the card but the agenda is not mentioned. I will go there and find out what is it all about," he said.

The Congress also lamented that no agenda was fixed for the meeting.

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