Rahul Gandhi part of Opposition delegation visiting Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar today
A delegation of opposition leaders, including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, will on Saturday visit Srinagar to assess the situation in Kashmir Valley, where 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, KC Venugopal and Anand Sharma would be 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.
Reacting to the delegation’s visit, the Jammu and Kashmir administration asked political leaders to cooperate and not visit Srinagar. It added 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 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”.
On Thursday, DMK leader M K Stalin held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to protest against the situation in Kashmir. On Friday morning, Opposition leaders met in Delhi and decided to send the delegation to Kashmir.
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.
So far, the government has not allowed any political leader to enter the state 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.
Azad was not allowed to enter the state and stopped twice, both in Srinagar and Jammu. Earlier, Raja was also stopped at Srinagar airport and sent back.
(With PTI inputs)