On August 24, a delegation of Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Sitaram Yechury, attempted to visit Srinagar. They were, however, not allowed to step out of Srinagar airport citing security reasons, and were eventually sent back. On the flight back to New Delhi, a woman stepped up to speak to Rahul Gandhi and narrated the ordeal of the Kashmiris living under a communication blockade.
“Little kids are not allowed to step out of their houses. My brother is a heart patient. We are under stress in all ways,” the woman said, almost on the verge of tears. While the security guards tried to dissuade her from talking, Rahul Gandhi appeared to be listening intently, even holding her hand reassuringly.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also commented on the issue, saying that “this is one out of the millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of nationalism”.
“There is nothing more political and anti-national than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir,” she added.
Earlier, the former Congress President tried to convince the security forces to let him visit Srinagar. “The Governor has invited me to visit. If the government is saying that everything is normal in Kashmir, it is quite surprising that we are not being allowed to go out of the airport,” Rahul Gandhi was heard saying to a security official in uniform.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under lockdown since the state’s special status was scrapped on August 5.