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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

‘Never seen such contradictions,’ says Ghulam Nabi Azad ahead of Srinagar visit

Ahead of the visit by Opposition leaders including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the Jammu and Kashmir administration asked them to call off the visit because they would be putting other people to inconvenience.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2019 10:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Security personnel stand guard near  barricades in Srinagar.
Security personnel stand guard near barricades in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi /HT PHOTO)
         

Ahead of a visit to Srinagar by a delegation of opposition leaders on Saturday to assess the situation in Kashmir valley, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government was contradicting itself by not allowing people to visit the valley while claiming that the situation was normal.

“On one hand government says situation is normal, and on the other hand they don’t allow anyone to go. Never seen such contradictions. If things are normal then why political leaders are under house arrest?” Azad told ANI.

Majeed Memon of the Nationalist Congress Party, another member of the delegation of opposition leaders said the administration’s fears that they would be creating disturbance was unfounded.

“Our motive is not to go and create disturbances. We aren’t going in as the government’s opposition, we are going in government’s support so that we too give suggestions as to what must be done,” ANI quoted Memon as saying.

Ahead of the visit by Opposition leaders including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the Jammu and Kashmir administration asked them to call off the visit because they would be putting other people to inconvenience.

“They would also be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas. Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives,” the administration tweeted.

It also said political leaders should not make attempts to disturb their efforts to protect the people of the state from the threat “of cross-border terrorism and from attacks by militants and separatists”.

Restrictions have been imposed since the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and divided the state into two union territories on August 5.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha has been stopped twice from visiting Jammu and Kashmir – once at the Srinagar airport and once at the Jammu airport. CPI leader D Raja was also stopped at Srinagar airport and sent back.

Azad, KC Venugopal and Anand Sharma are the other Congress leaders in the delegation. Trinamool Congress (TMC)’s Dinesh Trivedi, Tiruchi Siva of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India’s D Raja would be other members of the delegation. Loktantrik Janta Dal’s Sharad Yadav, Manoj Jha of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Majeed Memon (Nationalist Congress Party) and D Kupendra Reddy of the Janta Dal (Secular) will also be a part of the delegation.

“Senior Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi @DinTri to visit Srinagar on Saturday along with other Opposition leaders. They will see the situation in the valley after abrogation of Article 370,” the TMC tweeted.

Raja said that the delegation is made up of recognised national leaders. “We are public faces, and they should not stop us. Will they now pump bullets into us when we land,” said Raja.

Gandhi last week asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to quell apprehensions about Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik dismissed his concerns and invited him to travel to the state. He even offered a plane to Gandhi.

The government has not allowed any political leader to enter the newly created union territory ever since Article 370 was abrogated.

Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been put under house arrest