Opposition delegation including Rahul Gandhi head to Srinagar

A delegation of opposition leaders, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, are headed to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, days after the Centre scrapped Article 370 that gave special status to the state and bifurcated it into two Union Territories on August 5.

The state has been under restriction since the Centre revoked Article 370. However,  restrictions were lifted in some parts of the state in a phased manner.

Parties like Congress, CPI, DMK, RJD, TMC, NCP and JD(S) will be the part of the opposition all-party delegation.

Opposition leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, KC Venugopal, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Tiruchi Siva, Manoj Jha, Dinesh Trivedi, Majeed Memon and Kupendra Reddy will be the part of the delegation.

Meanwhile, 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 department tweeted.

On August 22, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had asked the government to allow all the political parties to visit Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in order to see the ground reality.

He made the demand in his speech at the DMK-led all-party demonstration in Jantar Mantar against the arrest of political leaders detained in Jammu-Kashmir in the backdrop of abrogation of Article 370.

Earlier, Azad was stopped at the Jammu airport while he was reportedly on his way to attend a meeting to be held in the headquarters of the District Congress Committee there.

CPI General Secretary D Raja had said abrogation of Article 370 was undemocratic and an assault on democracy and warned that a similar fate could befall other states.

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Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had accepted Governor Satya Pal Malik’s invitation to visit the Valley and asked him when he could come to review the situation after the abrogation of Article 370.

The exchange came a day after Malik accused him of “politicising” his invitation to him by seeking to bring a delegation of Opposition leaders along to create “further unrest and problems for the common people”.

After repealing of provisions of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, which granted it special status, several leaders in the Valley were put under house arrest as a precautionary measure by the Centre. The security was also heightened in the area after the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370.

Earlier this month, Parliament defanged the Article 370 also passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill 2019, reorganizing the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with Assembly and Ladakh without legislature.

(With inputs from ANI)

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