Weeks after Centre removed the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Srinagar on Saturday along with a delegation of 10 opposition parties.
There has been a clampdown in Kashmir ever since Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. So far, the J&K administration has not allowed any political leader to enter the state since the announcement.
Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been placed under house arrest. Congress MP Azad was not allowed to enter the state and was stopped twice, both at Srinagar and Jammu. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja were also detained at the Srinagar airport and not allowed to enter the city.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had accepted Governor Satya Pal Malik’s ‘invitation’ to visit Jammu and Kashmir after Malik said he would send an aircraft for him. Previously, the Congress leader had lashed out at the J&K administration saying, “People were dying in the state and the situation was not normal as claimed by the government.”
After Gandhi accepted the ‘invitation’, the Governor had accused the Congress leader of politicising the matter and said he had put forth many conditions for visiting the region, including meeting mainstream leaders under detention. To this, Gandhi said that he was ready to visit the state without any conditions.
Meanwhile, the administration said that attempts should not be made by senior political leaders to disturb the gradual restoration of normal life in Kashmir, In a series of tweets the J&K administration said, “Attempts should not be made by senior political leaders to disturb the gradual restoration of 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. Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives.”