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Give time for situation in Kashmir to normalise, says Mayawati; Questions opposition delegation

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Aug 26: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Monday questioned the opposition delegation which went to Srinagar on Saturday despite the Jammu and Kashmir administration advising them against it. She said that the group of leaders going to Kashmir without proper permission would allow the Centre and the J&K Governor to politicise the issue.

"Article 370 was repealed 69 years after the Constitution of India came in force. It will take time for situation there to become normal. It is better to wait, and even the honourable court has said this," she tweeted.

BSP chief Mayawati

On Saturday, opposition leaders led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached Srinagar, but were not allowed to exit the airport and were sent back to Delhi within a couple of hours. Ghulam Nabi Azad, K C Venugopal, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), D Raja (CPI), Anand Sharma, Dinesh Trivedi (TMC) and Majeed Memon (NCP) were also part of the delegation, among others.

"Baba Saheb Ambedkar was always for unity and equality, and never supported Article 370. That is the reason why BSP supported it in Parliament," she wrote.

Earlier this month, Mayawati had voiced her support to the Centre's decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to J&K.

Article 370 which gave J&K the special status was revoked on August 5. There is heavy presence of security personnel in the Valley and certain restrictions are in place. The phone lines are yet to be fully restored.

[Article 370 impact: J&K state flag removed; only Tricolour seen atop Civil Secretariat]

On Friday evening, the J&K government had issued a statement asking political leaders not to visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life. Despite this, the leaders from nine political parties flew to Srinagar on Saturday afternoon but were sent back within hours.

"The government has invited me. The governor has said that I am invited. Now that I have come, they are saying you can't come. The government is saying that everything is normal here, so if everything is normal then why are we not allowed to go in. It is surprising," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters.

Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier inviting Rahul Gandhi to Srinagar and offered a plane to see how 'normal' the situation was. Rahul Gandhi accepted the invite. Then the Governor said that the former Congress president wanted to play politics over the issue. Malik also said that while he had invited Rahul Gandhi purely out of goodwill, the Congress leader started politicising the J&K issue.

Upon return to Delhi, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Budgam district magistrate expressing objection to the decision to send them back from Srinagar airport. Opposition leaders alleged that J&K's administration's decision to send them back was violation of fundamental rights.

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