The Jammu and Kashmir government issued a statement on Friday night asking political leaders not to visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life. It also said the visit by politicians would be in violation of restrictions that have been imposed in many areas of the Valley.
The statement comes close on the heels of a proposed visit by opposition members, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday to meet people of Kashmir where restrictions are imposed after the Centre withdrew special status to the state.
The statement from the Jammu and Kashmir administration said at a time when the government is trying to protect the people of the state from the threat of cross-border terrorism and attacks by militants and separatists and gradually trying to restore public order by controlling miscreants and mischief-mongers, attempts should not be made by senior political leaders to disturb the gradual restoration of normal life.
RJD leader Manoj Jha says as he is onboard flight to Srinagar as a part of Opposition delgation : "This is my country, if situation is normal, if peace is prevailing, why cannot they let mainstream Opposition parties to visit the place."
CPI leader D Raja spoke to Republic while boarding a flight to Srinagar: "We are concerned for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Govt claims situation is normal, why can't opposition leaders go and interact with the people. Last time we were detained at the airport. This time we will wait and see."
As the Opposition delegation is on their way to visit Srinagar, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "How can you say that situation is normal when no Opposition leader can go there. The entire situation has been created by Government of India."
NCP leader Majeed Memon said while aboard flight to Srinagar on Saturday: "We are not going there for political movement. we are going there for a social cause. We are going to restore normalcy and be a helping hand to people whose lives have been disrupted. We want to make sure normalcy is restored as soon as possible. Our motive is not to go and create disturbance. We are not going as government's opposition, we are going in government's support so that we too can give suggestions as about things that can be done."
The Modi government abrogated the Article 370 that provided special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories. Following the abrogation, communication was shut down in the valley and curfew was imposed in light of security situations. After few days the curfew was uplifted, schools were re-opened and landlines services were restored.
Even as the Centre and the security forces are trying their level best to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogtaion of Article 370, an Opposition delegation is travelling to Srinagra on August 24. The delegation led by Congress comprises of Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, as well as other leaders of Opposition - CPI's D Raja, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, RJD's Manoj Jha and others. Here is the full list:
Earlier taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi had demanded to visit the Valley after abrogation of Article 370. Responding to him, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had offered to send him a 'plane' to visit the state so that he would stop fear mongering 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.