Face-off at Srinagar Airport likely
Rahul Gandhi, media-persons part of entourage
VIVEK SHARMAJAMMU: While a delegation of opposition leaders will visit Srinagar on Saturday to meet people and assess situation in the Kashmir Valley where restrictions are in place after the Centre withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K government has sought cancelation of their visit to Srinagar as it is likely to “disturb the gradual restoration of normal life” and put other people to “inconvenience.” In a series of tweets, the administration has warned, “They (opposition leaders) 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.” Another tweet counsels, “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.” “At a time when the government is trying to protect the people of Jammu & Kashmir from the threat of cross border terrorism and attacks by militants and separatists and gradually trying to restore public order by controlling miscreants and mischief mongers,” reads yet another tweet. Sources privy to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told STATE TIMES that delegation, comprising around fifty leaders including some media persons would be travelling from Indira Gandhi Airport in Vistara Airlines scheduled to depart for Srinagar at 11:50 AM. Quoting sources, PTI reported that some of the parties that will be part of the opposition all-party delegation are Congress, CPI-M, CPI, RJD, NCP, TMC and DMK. The sources said top Congress leaders who will visit Srinagar are Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. Rahul Gandhi is likely to accompany them. CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, RJD’s Manoj Jha and Dinesh Trivedi from TMC will also be part of the delegation that will leave for at Srinagar around noon from Delhi airport. “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.
Senior Congress leaders were huddled in a meeting on Friday evening to discuss the issue within the party.
The sources said the leaders also intend to visit some other parts of the state, if allowed to enter.
So far, the government has not allowed any political leader to enter the state ever since provisions of Article 370 were abrogated by the Centre.
Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been put under house arrest. Congress MP Azad was not allowed to enter the state and was stopped twice, both at Srinagar and Jammu.
Earlier, Raja was also stopped at Srinagar airport and sent back.
Rahul Gandhi had recently asked Governor Satya Pal Malik when he could come to the state and meet people without any conditions.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper