Srinagar: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad reached Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday morning to protest against the decision of the Union government to remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and make the state a union territory. Azad had planned to meet party workers in the state. He was stopped at Srinagar airport. Later, he returned from there.
Meanwhile, DC Shahid Chaudhary of Srinagar said that two helpline numbers 9419028242 and 9419028251 had been started in his office. Local people or students from outside can contact these numbers. Azad was accompanied by Ghulam Ahmed Mir, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress. Both the leaders were detained at the Srinagar airport. According to reports, there is an apprehension that opposition leaders may incite people to turn violent in the state. In view of this, Azad was not allowed to go ahead and was sent back by the next flight.
Before leaving for Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi had questioned National Security Advisor Ajit Doval over a video showing him interacting and eating with Kashmiris on the streets while the lockdown continued. Azad said, “Paise dekar aap kisiko bhi saath le sakte ho (You can bring anyone to your side by bribing them).”
The lockdown in Kashmir began on 4 August, a day before the Centre passed a resolution to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution that granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Section 144 has been imposed in Kashmir amid additional troop deployment across the state. The Modi government has divided Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
Kashmir faces a complete lockdown with zero communication facilities available to the locals. The security forces and police have detained and arrested over 500 people in Kashmir. The detained include former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah. Meanwhile, the United States has asked Pakistan to refrain from “retaliatory aggression” as hostilities between Pakistan and India has risen.