Taking matters into their hands, a delegation of Opposition leaders led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Srinagar on Saturday, according to ANI. The delegation includes Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, CPI's D Raja, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury and RJD's Manoj Jha. Opposition leaders have been asking to visit the Valley since the abrogation of article 370. Restrictions have been removed from most places in Jammu-Kashmir.
ANI sources have reported that these leaders have not been granted permission by the local J&K administration. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has made it clear that it was up to the local admin to approve visits to the state. Currently, local political leaders - Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Shah Faesal to name a few have been kept under house arrest. The government too has been resuming essential communication services in a phased manner, while banks, schools, and other institutions have resumed functioning.
Responding to this adamant move of the Opposition, the Jammu-Kashmir government's public relation department has requested them to not do so. Taking to Twitter, the department stated that the government was trying to protect people from terrorists. It stated that the government is trying to restore public order by controlling miscreants. These statements were meant to not politicize the J&K situation which is crawling back to normalcy.
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.— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) August 23, 2019
The department further stated that this visit by political leaders will inconvenience locals. It has also stated that by visiting, the leaders would be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas. Requesting them to understand the need to maintain peace, the department requested them to not visit Kashmir to prevent loss of human lives. The Centre has been giving on-ground reports about the situation in Kashmir through officials.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has been demanding to visit the Valley since restrictions were implemented in the state. Previously, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had offered to send him a 'plane' to visit the state so that he would stop fearmongering over it. In response, Rahul Gandhi explicitly stated that while he won't 'need an aircraft' but 'freedom' should be assured for him to travel and meet mainstream leaders and soldiers deployed in the valley. He also jumped at Pal's offer tweeting he would visit with a delegation of political leaders.
The PM Modi government on August 5 revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the resolution abrogating Article 370 for J&K. A bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was passed. Home Minister Amit Shah said that the controversial provisions were responsible for poverty and lack of development in the state. Ministry of External Affairs also briefed the envoys of the P5 nations -- the US, the UK, China, France, and Russia -- about Indian government's decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories.