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Published On: Fri, Aug 23rd, 2019

Rahul Gandhi, Other Opposition Leaders To Visit Srinagar on Saturday

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New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses the media during the winter session at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI12_19_2017_000022B)

NEW DELHI : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Srinagar on Saturday to meet people of Jammu and Kashmir where restrictions have been imposed since the central government withdrew special status under Article 370 and split the state into two Union Territories earlier this month.

Centre withdrew special status to the state and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, sources said on Friday. Along with Gandhi, leaders of various opposition parties, including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma from the Congress, will also visit the Valley, they said.
Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma are the top Congress leaders other than Rahul Gandhi who are likely to visit. Mr Azad was twice stopped at Jammu airport, most recently on Tuesday, and was “forcibly” sent back to Delhi on each occasion.
CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, RJD’s Manoj Jha and Dinesh Trivedi from NCP will also be part of the delegation, the PTI report adds.The report says the leaders also intend to visit some other parts of the state, if allowed to enter.
The sources said the leaders also intend to visit some other parts of the state, if allowed to enter. 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.
Gandhi in a tweet on Wednesday repeated his demand to visit J&K and asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik when he could come. Malik has then said the J-K administration was occupied with arrangements for Independence Day celebrations and would get in touch with the Wayanad MP at a “convenient time” over his visit to the state.
Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been put under house arrest. Congress MP Azad was not allowed to enter the state and was stopped twice, both at Srinagar and Jammu.

So far, the government has not allowed any political leader to enter the state. The Jammu and Kashmir Department of Information and Public Relations on Friday evening requested the opposition leaders to not visit Srinagar as it would “disturb the gradual restoration of normal life.”
“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 Jammu and Kashmir Department of Information and Public Relations tweeted.
Nearly 400 Jammu and Kashmir politicians and leaders, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were either arrested or detained following the centre’s decision to withdraw special status. The move also prompted a stringent security lockdown across the region that included the snapping of phone and internet services, as the centre looked to quell protests against its decision.
(With inputs from Agency).

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