Srinagar: Rahul Gandhi, other opposition leaders sent back to Delhi
A delegation of opposition party leaders led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had arrived in Jammu & Kashmir's Srinagar on Saturday to meet the people amid tensions over the abrogation of Article 370. However, the opposition leaders were not allowed to even step out of the Srinagar airport; they were sent back to Delhi only an hour after landing. Here's more.
On Friday, J&K's Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) requested the opposition leaders not to visit as it would "disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life." "Political leaders are requested to cooperate and not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience. They would also be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas," DIPR stated.
The opposition delegation reached Srinagar amid restrictions imposed since August 5 when the Center abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories. Apart from the Congress, parties like Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) were part of the delegation.
Top Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma accompanied Rahul to Srinagar. Earlier, Azad was stopped twice at Jammu airport and forcibly sent to Delhi. Others included CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, RJD's Manoj Jha, TMC's Dinesh Trivedi, and LJD chief Sharad Yadav. The government hasn't allowed any political leader to enter J&K after the abrogation of Article 370.
Before leaving for Srinagar, on Saturday, Azad said the government was contradicting itself with its statements on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. "On one hand, the government says the situation is normal, and on the other hand, they don't allow anyone to go. (I have) Never seen such contradictions. If things (are) normal, then why political leaders are under house arrest?" he said.
"We are all responsible political parties and leaders. We are not going to break any law. The Jammu & Kashmir situation is very concerning," Azad told ANI, before leaving for Delhi airport on Saturday. "It is close to 20 days. No news for 20 days. The government says the situation is normal. But then they don't allow leaders to go?" the Congress leader questioned.
NCP's Majeed Memon said they weren't going to do anything that would disrupt peace in J&K. LJD's Yadav told ANI, "Desh hamara hai, koi mana kare ya na kare iska kya matlab hai? (The country is ours. Somebody allows or not, what does that mean?)."