Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was “very bad”, reported PTI. Azad, who is the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is currently on a six-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I spent four days in Kashmir and arrived here to spend two more days in Jammu,” he told reporters. “After the end of the six-day tour, I will say whatever I have to say.”
Azad said there was no sign of freedom of speech in Jammu and Kashmir, when asked about detention of political leaders and curbs on political activities. “I was not even allowed by the administration to visit 10% of the places where I had planned to go in the Valley,” he added. He will meet a few delegations during his two-day visit to Jammu, reported Hindustan Times.
The Congress leader also claimed there was an atmosphere of fear. “The amount of despair and distress that is present in Kashmir and Kashmiris, the same is the situation in Jammu,” he said, according to ANI. “Except 100-200 people of the ruling party, nobody is happy.”
Jammu and Kashmir was put under prohibitory orders and an unprecedented communications blackout on August 4. On August 5, the Centre scrapped the special status granted to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and imposed a lockdown in the state. Prohibitory orders are being lifted gradually but the communications blockade remains in most parts.
This is Azad’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the revocation of the special status. On September 16, the Supreme Court had allowed the Congress leader to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu. Azad had tried to visit the state three times before that, but was stopped and sent back to New Delhi every time.
The top court restrained him from carrying out any political activities in the state though. The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer, had said that by his own submission, Azad will not “make any speeches or hold any public rally”.
After the court order, Azad had told reporters that he would present his report before the top court when he returns. However, when asked about submitting his assessment report, the former chief minister said a decision on this would be taken only after he returns to Delhi.
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