Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha was on Tuesday sent back to New Delhi from Srinagar by the Jammu and Kashmir administration after high drama at the airport, The Indian Express reported. However, three associates of Sinha – Journalist Bharat Bhushan and civil society members Kapil Kak and Sushoba Bharve – were given permission to go to Srinagar.
Sinha was on a two-day visit to the city as a part of an non-governmental organisation called the Concerned Citizens Group. Sinha said he reached Srinagar around 11.45 am on Tuesday. “As we alighted from the aircraft, I was met by the deputy commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Budgam and other officials,” Sinha told the newspaper. “The DM [District Magistrate] told me while the others could proceed, I would have to go back to Delhi.”
An order by the District Magistrate Tariq Ahmad Ganai said that Sinha was a “threat to maintenance of public order” and he would be restricted to the VIP lounge of the airport. After Sinha agreed to stay there, Ganai issued him a follow up of the earlier order. “This order said I had to board a flight to Delhi,” the former Bharatiya Janata Party leader said. “I said I will not obey the order as the order is unconstitutional. I am an 82-year-old man in a wheelchair and I have been coming here since 2016 for peace. What kind of threat could I pose? The DM, however, his inputs said I was a threat.”
Sinha said he told the state administration officials to arrest him for violation of Section 144 but he would not leave. However, around 5.30 pm, Sinha said the officials approached him and said he must board a car which would take him to the city. “I protested and tried to get up,” Sinha added. “I was pinned down on my wheelchair by the use of brute force by the officials. I was then forcibly put on the flight back to Delhi.”
Prohibitory orders are still in place in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which authorities maintained were a preventive measure since the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Communication networks were also partially restored in some areas. Several other leaders who had tried to visit the state were also sent back in the last month.
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