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Rahul Gandhi And Leaders Of Opposition To Visit Jammu And Kashmir, But Govt Says Stay Away

This isn't the first time the government has made an attempt to discourage the Opposition from visiting the region.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and leaders of Opposition parties will visit Jammu and Kashmir today on August 24, for the first time since the Centre’s bid to amend Article 370 of the Constitution. As per an NDTV report, Gandhi will be accompanied by Congress leaders Anand Sharma and  Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was twice stopped at Jammu airport and was forcibly sent back to Delhi both times. The delegation will reportedly include leaders from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

However, this visit has been discouraged by the government.

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The Department of Information and Public Relations of the government of Jammu and Kashmir took to Twitter to announce that political leaders should “not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience” at a “time when the government is trying to protect the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the threat of cross border terrorism and attacks.”

The statement read: “At a time when the government is trying to protect the people of Jammu and Kashmir 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. Political leaders are requested to cooperate and not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience. 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.”

This isn’t the first time the government has made an attempt to discourage the Opposition from visiting Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, Governor Satya Pal Malik invited Gandhi and subsequently withdrew the invitation to him, Gandhi’s “pre-conditions” to be unacceptable and claimed, “Rahul Gandhi is politicising the matter by seeking to bring a delegation of Opposition leaders to create further unrest and problems for the common people.”

Gandhi’s “pre-conditions” were nothing more than ensuring that leaders of the Opposition be given the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and soldiers stationed over there.

For 20 days now, Jammu and Kashmir has been isolated from the rest of India through massive militarisation, a communications clampdown and curfew.

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