National Conference leader and former MLA Altaf Ahmad Wani was on Thursday evening stopped from flying to Dubai from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, PTI reported.
Unidentified officials told The Hindu that Ministry of Home Affairs had put 38 politicians from Jammu and Kashmir on a “no-fly list”. This ban came into effect after the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370, in August last year. Wani was among the politicians who were put under detention by the government.
Wani told the newspaper that he had to go to Dubai for his niece’s engagement. “I was stopped at the immigration for over four hours and finally told I am barred from travelling outside the country”, he said.
The leader said that he was asked to wait in a room. Immigration officials initially assured him that they had sought permission from Srinagar to let him fly out, The Indian Express reported. “I believe the permission did not come through, the officials cited a technicality and said I cannot fly out of the country,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Later, some officers of the J&K Police intervened and I was allowed to leave the airport.”
An unidentified official from the home ministry told The Indian Express that Centre was reviewing the blanket travel ban on Kashmiri politicians. “It [the ban] had come in the wake of Shah Faesal attempting to fly to Turkey right after the August 5 decision,” the official said. “Unfortunately, the order has not been reviewed by the UT [union territory] administration since then.”
On August 14, 2019, Faesal was detained at the Delhi airport and sent back to Kashmir, where he was detained again at a makeshift detention centre at a Srinagar hotel. Faesal was detained under the Public Safety Act.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including former chief ministers – Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah – were detained last year. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. Mufti was released in October.