Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that the government was making contradictory statements on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, NDTV reported. Azad made the remarks before leaving New Delhi as part of the delegation of leaders from the Opposition that will attempt to visit the state to review the ground reality.
“Government says the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is normal,” Azad was quoted as saying. “Then, they do not allow leaders to visit the state....haven’t seen such contradiction. Why are Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and Farooq Abdullah under house arrest? Why aren’t they allowing me to go to my home? If it’s normal, why aren’t we allowed?”
Azad said that the delegation was comprised of responsible politicians who were not going to break any law. It had been nearly 20 days since any news came from the state, the Congress leader added.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Majeed Memon, who is also part of the delegation, said that the administration was fearful that their presence would create disturbances. “Our motive is not to go and create disturbances,” ANI quoted him as saying. “We aren’t going in as the government’s opposition, we are going in government’s support so that we too give suggestions as to what must be done.”
Ahead of the delegation’s visit, Jammu and Kashmir’s Department of Information and Public Relations had asked the leaders to cancel their visit on Friday. “Political leaders are requested to cooperate and not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience,” the official Twitter handle of the department said. “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.”
Azad had tried visiting the state twice, once on Tuesday and earlier this month, but was stopped and sent back to New Delhi both times. Earlier, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja were also sent back when they tried to visit the state.
Jammu and Kashmir has been in a lockdown since August 5. Several political leaders have been detained or arrested as the central government deployed thousands of security personnel in the region to deal with any law-and-order problem. While authorities have claimed they are working on restoring communication lines gradually, sporadic protests in the Valley have slowed down the process.