More delegations to visit Kashmir in coming weeks

Published on Nov 25, 2019 10:22 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Srinagar | ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar

After conclusion a four-day visit of a civil society delegation, led to former BJP minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday, government sources said few more delegations, comprising members of the civil society and leaders of different political parties, would be facilitated to visit Kashmir in the coming weeks to access the ground situation for themselves.

In coming weeks, more delegations will be allowed to meet people in Srinagar, sources said. However, it’s is not clear whether they will be allowed to travel to other parts of the Valley.

“There is a possibility of some more delegation being allowed to travel to Kashmir. They will be meeting people to know the facts on ground after abrogation of state’s special status. The government will not stop them,” a senior government functionary said.

On August 5, the Centre revoked the special status of the J&K and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories— Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Almost all the top mainstream political leaders, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son and NC vice-president, Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, were detained or placed under house arrest.

Ever since restrictions were imposed in the Valley following abrogation of Article 370, a number of opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Sitharam Yechury, were not allowed to move out of Srinagar airport.

Last month, for the first time after August 5, a delegation of EU parliamentarians was allowed to enter Kashmir, which led to an uproar from opposition leaders.

On November 13, a seven-member delegation of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee travelled to Kashmir and met growers and members of the civil society. They even held a meeting with Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries during their stay in Srinagar.

“We heard the problems faced by people, especially farmers, in Kashmir. The fruit growers and farmers had suffered losses due to early snowfall. We came to convey them that they are not alone,’’ Rajiv Shetti, who was part of the delegation, said.

After the Kisan delegation, a five-member civil society delegation, led by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, was allowed to enter Srinagar, almost two months after he was sent back from the city airport after the abrogation of Article 370.

The delegation, known as Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG), included former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibulla, journalist Bharat Bhushan, civil society activist Kapil Kak and Sushoba Barve, arrived here on Friday and met several delegations and individuals during their stay before leaving for Delhi on Monday afternoon.

The group members were asked by the police not to move outside Srinagar as the situation was not conducive and there was a threat of an impending terror attack, which Sinha termed as “a deliberate ploy” by the government to restrict their interactions with common people.

The delegation also held a separate meeting with Khalida Shah, chairperson of Awami National Conference and elder sister of NC president Farooq Abdullah.

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