Ghulam Nabi Azad can visit J&K, but with conditions: SC
On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit some districts of Jammu and Kashmir, but added that he will not make any speeches or hold a public rally, as per his "own submissions". The former Chief Minister of the state was also asked to interact with residents, check on their welfare and file a report. Here's more.
To note, Azad had approached the top court seeking directions to visit his family members in J&K, which has been under lockdown since early August when government rescinded Article 370 and split the state into two UTs. "My petition is non-political. It is my personal petition and not on behalf of the Congress party... It is on humanitarian grounds," his plea read.
Further, Azad disclosed he was stopped from visiting his home state thrice: he was returned from Srinagar Airport two times, and once from Jammu. He said one-third of people in J&K are laborers. "It has been 42 days (since restrictions have been imposed). Do they have food to eat?... nobody has bothered about their plight. So I am raising a humanitarian issue," he said.
To recall, when Azad was stopped from visiting J&K, Congress fumed. The party's leader Ravinder Sharma said, "It is unfortunate that he is not allowed into his home state in the past two weeks. He is the former CM of J&K, member of Rajya Sabha from the state and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha." Interestingly, Azad's request came up with other pleas.
On hearing his plea, a bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and including Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, allowed Azad to visit Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla, and Anantnag. Separately, the bench also directed Centre to ensure normalcy is returned in J&K while keeping national interest in mind. Earlier, SC had also allowed detained PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti's daughter to meet her.