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Rahul Gandhi, other opposition leaders sent back from Kashmir

  • Published at 03:04 pm August 24th, 2019
Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi Reuters

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has not allowed the entry of any politician into Kashmir since August 5

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi along with a delegation of various opposition leaders who reached Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday afternoon to review the situation in the state were sent back, reported ANI . 

This came days after they held a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand the immediate release of political leaders detained in Kashmir.

The delegation includes Communist Party of India leader D Raja, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and KC Venugopal, Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Tiruchi Siva, Nationalist Congress Party leader.

Majeed Memon, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha and Janata Dal (Secular) leader D Kupendra Reddy, IANS reported.

Congress said the visit was an attempt "to review the reality" in the state. "Shri Rahul Gandhi is leading a delegation of opposition leaders to assess the ground situation in Kashmir today," the party said on Twitter. "This visit is an attempt to review the reality in the region after the abrogation of Article 370."

Ahead of the visit, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad asked why they were not allowed to visit the state if the situation was normal as the government claimed.

He also questioned why former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were still placed under house arrest. "Why aren’t they allowing me to go to my home? If it’s normal, why aren’t we allowed?" Azad asked.

Nationalist Congress Party’s Majeed Memon echoed similar views and added that the administration feared that their presence would create disturbances. He said that the leaders were going to the state as the "government’s support" so that they could also provide insights on what needed to be done.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had on Friday asked the leaders not to visit the state as it said they would be "putting other people to inconvenience." The state’s Department of Information and Public Relations said that they would also end up violating restrictions imposed in several areas. “Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives," it said in a statement.

The state has been under an unprecedented lockdown ever since the central government decided to revoke its special status. Thousands of troops have been deployed to prevent law and order situations in the region and communication lines have been cut off for several weeks now. The authorities have claimed that the restrictions would be eased gradually, however protests in the Valley have made it difficult to do so.