Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Srinagar on Saturday along with a delegation of 10 opposition parties.
The parties, besides Congress, which will be sending their leaders, include CPI-M, CPI, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress and the DMK, according to reports.
The news comes weeks after the Narendra Modi government at the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370, scrapping the special status of Kashmir and bifurcating it into two union territories.
Since the government came up with the move, there has been a clampdown in Kashmir, with restrictions being lifted in a “phased” manner. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval was on a visit to the state for 11 days to see through the situation on the ground.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Secretary had apprised the reporters that no life has been lost or any major injury has taken place since the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.
Although, the government says the situation in the state is “under control” but it has not allowed any political leader to enter the state since then. Earlier, leaders like Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja were stopped at the Srinagar Airport and asked to return to Delhi.
The opposition’ s demand to visit the state is of significance as since the government’s move on Kashmir, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti have been under house arrest.
As a matter of fact, reports suggest hundreds of local political leaders have been detained, a move the government says to maintain a situation of “peace” in the Valley as some elements could disrupt it.
Meanwhile, when Rahul Gandhi raised objections to the situation in Kashmir and urged the government to come clear on it, the state’s governor Satya Pal Malik had asked him to visit the state and see for himself. Malik had said he would send an aircraft to bring Gandhi.
The Congress MP from Wayanad accepted Malik’s “invitation” to visit the state but put forward certain conditions. That he should be allowed to visit the state along with a delegation of opposition parties and the former chief ministers be set free. Gandhi said there won’t be a need for the governor to send an airplane especially for him.
Responding to the Congress leader, the governor said that he was politicizing the matter and that he has placed too many conditions including ending the mainstream leaders’ detention. To this, Gandhi said he would visit without any conditions.