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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

‘Got a taste of brute force’: Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir visit

The Jammu and Kashmir government had issued a statement asking political leaders not to visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2019 20:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in conversation with opposition party leaders at Srinagar Airport in Srinagar on Saturday. (ANI Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in conversation with opposition party leaders at Srinagar Airport in Srinagar on Saturday. (ANI Photo)
         

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday tweeted how he got a first hand experience of “brute force” unleashed on the people of Jammu and Kashmir when he tried visiting Srinagar with a delegation of opposition leaders on Saturday.

The Congress leader, along with leaders from other opposition parties, was not allowed to leave Srinagar airport on Saturday by the state administration and was forced to return to the national capital.

“It’s been 20 days since the people of Jammu & Kashmir had their freedom & civil liberties curtailed,” tweeted Rahul on Sunday evening.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had issued a statement asking political leaders not to visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life.

“Leaders of the Opposition & the Press got a taste of the draconian administration & brute force unleashed on the people of J&K when we tried to visit Srinagar yesterday,” Rahul added.

Asked about the administration’s decision to not allow opposition leaders to visit the Valley, J&K Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal told reporters Saturday evening that the priority is to maintain security and law and order at a time when the threat of cross-border terrorism continues to exist.

The Centre through a Presidential order scrapped Article 370, which allowed for Jammu And Kashmir’s special status, on August 5. It also divided the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Since then the state has been under a security lockdown. The Kashmiri leaders have been placed under house arrest.

On August 14, Kashmiri leader Shah Faesal was stopped at the Delhi airport and detained before being sent back to Srinagar. He was reportedly flying abroad to complete his course at a US university.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, was stopped at the Jammu Airport on August 20 for nearly two hours before he was sent back to Delhi. This was the second time he was sent back from Jammu and Kashmir — earlier he was sent back from the Srinagar airport.

Denying reports of shortage of medicines and essential commodities in J&K, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said enough stocks were available for the people to buy. On the communication curbs in place, he said it helped save many lives there.

“Our attitude that there should be no loss of human life. ‘10 din telephone nahi honge, lekin hum bahut jaldi sab wapas kar denge. (If there is no phone connection for 10 days, so be it. But, we will restore everything soon),” he said.

First Published: Aug 25, 2019 17:36 IST