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Opposition leaders to visit Srinagar today, J&K govt advises against it

By Vishal S
|

New Delhi, Aug 23: A delegation comprising of prominent leaders from opposition parties would visit Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar on Saturday, said reports. This would be first visit by such a delegation after Article 370 was abrogated on August 5.

Delegation is likely to comprise of Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma (all Congress), D Raja (CPI), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M general secretary) and Manoj Jha (RJD), among others.

Rahul Gandhi

Some of the parties that will be part of the opposition all-party delegation are Congress, CPI-M, CPI, RJD, NCP, TMC and DMK. DMK's Tiruchi Siva and Dinesh Trivedi from TMC will also be part of the delegation that will leave for Srinagar around noon from Delhi airport, PTI report while quoting sources said.

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So far, the government has not allowed any political leader to enter the state ever since provisions of Article 370 were abrogated by the Centre. Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been put under house arrest.

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Earlier this month, senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was stopped from visiting the state and was sent back to Delhi from Srinagar Airport.

After that Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and Rahul Gandhi were involved in a war of words over visiting Srinagar. Malik had said that Rahul's visit may cause disturbance in the Valley which was then under heavy security blanket.

J&K govt tells politicians to refrain from visiting:

The Jammu and Kashmir government issued a statement on Friday night and asked political leaders not to visit the Valley as and normal life. It also said the visit by politicians would be in violation of restrictions that have been imposed in many areas of the Valley.

The statement came ahead of a proposed visit by opposition members, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday to meet people of Kashmir where restrictions are imposed after the Centre withdrew special status to the state.

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The statement from the Jammu and Kashmir administration said at a time when the government is trying to protect the people of the state from the threat of cross-border terrorism and attacks by militants and separatists and gradually trying to restore public order by controlling miscreants and mischief-mongers, attempts should not be made by senior political leaders to disturb the gradual restoration of normal life.

"Political leaders are requested to cooperate and not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience. 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," the statement said.

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