Sitaram Yechury, on his return from Kashmir's Srinagar stated that the situation in the valley is not what the government claims to be. The CPI(M) general secretary said that he was kept in isolation and could only meet his ailing party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, who was put under house arrest since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, along with mainstream pro-India leaders- NC chief Farooq Abdullah, NC vice president Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, JKPC president Sajad Lone and others.
Sitaram Yechury arrived on Thursday afternoon and was escorted by police to meet Tarigami at his Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar's Civil Lines area, where the CPI(M) leader spent nearly 3 hours. The CPI(M) general secretary's remarks on the peace or order situation in Kashmir comes despite a Supreme Court's order that restrained Sitaram Yechury's Kashmir visit to only meeting his party colleague.
He said, "We were escorted to his (party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigam) home. They wanted us to return back yesterday (Thursday) evening itself. But we refused to come back without seeing the doctor. We were put in a guest house last night, we could not go out, neither could anyone come in from that guest house. I went to meet Tarigam the next morning and came straight to the airport."
"Even at the airport we could not meet anyone, we did not have the access. We could not meet anybody, neither could anybody meet us. It does not appear to be what the government claims in Kashmir. The truth is far from what the government is claiming," Sitaram Yechury added.
This wasn't Sitaram Yechury's first visit to Kashmir, but the CPI(M) leader had landed on Srinagar even on August 9, four days after the abrogation of Article 370, but was sent back from there iself.
Sitaram Yechury was armed with a Supreme Court order prior to his Kashmir visit. On Wednesday the Supreme Court rejected BJP's claim that Sitaram Yechury's visit may distrupt the peace in the valley.
"Why do you have any difficulty if a citizen of this country wants to go there and meet his friend and party colleague," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was opposing Yechury's visit.
The Supreme Court clarified that Sitaram Yechury's visit was only to meet his party colleague and that it would be a violation of the Supreme Court if Yechury was found "indulging in any other act of omission and commission."
A delegation of Opposition leaders led by Congress former chief Rahul Gandhi, along with Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, CPI's D Raja, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, RJD's Manoj Jha and others visited Kashmir on August 24 to review the situation in Kashmir.
However, the delegation was detained at the Srinagar airport and was sent back to New Delhi from there itself. BJP lambasted the "political tourism" of Opposition leader and accused them of symphathising with the separatists through this move.
"They should stop this political tourism. It is a conspiracy to give sympathy to separatists. Today, people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are moving towards progess with faith. The Opposition are on political tourism to appease separatists, even as people of the region are embracing progress. Because everyone knows their thoughts on Article 370. So there will be no positive outcome from such political tourism," BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Home Minister Amit Shah announced tabled the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisational, 2019 Bill, that withdrew the state's special status and bifurcated the state into Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh, which was passed by both the Houses. Following the abrogation, mainstream political leaders were put on house arrest, communication services were blocked and heavy military was deployed in the valley to maintain peace in the valley.