Ghulam Nabi Azad stopped at Srinagar airport, being sent back

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s visit come days after the Centre revoked the provisions of Article 370, which gave special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir and also divided the Himalayan state into two Union Territories.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has been stopped from entering Srinagar city and is being sent back to Delhi by a late afternoon flight, an aide of the senior Congress leader said.

Azad left for Srinagar on Thursday morning to interact with Congress workers and assess the situation in the valley after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government scrapped Article 370, and split the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Azad was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from November 2005 to July 2008 and is a Rajya Sabha member from the state.

“The state administration stopped him at the Srinagar airport and did not allow him to go to the city,” said the aide quoted above. “He is being sent back to Delhi by the afternoon flight at 3.30 pm.”

The Rajya Sabha member was accompanied by Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir. They had boarded an early morning flight. Before departing for Srinagar, Azad told ANI, “I always go [to Kashmir] after the end of the Parliament session. I have not asked anyone for permission. I am going to join the people in times of suffering.”

Before leaving for Srinagar, Azad courted a controversy with his remarks about the pictures of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval having lunch and chatting with the locals in Shopian.

NSA Doval visited the militancy-affected south Kashmir and was seen eating food on a footpath outside closed shops and talking to locals. The photographs and videos went viral on social media.

“Paise dekar aap kisiko bhi saath le sakte ho (You can get anyone by paying money),” Azad told reporters in Delhi. “The people are sad. I am going there to share their sadness,” he added.

The BJP attacked Azad and sought an apology from him for his remarks.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Karan Singh disagreed with his party’s “blanket condemnation” of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and also abrogation of Articles 35 A and 370. He also hailed the government’s move to make Ladakh a Union Territory. “Ladakh’s emergence as a Union Territory is to be welcomed.”

Karan Singh also said that the gender discrimination in Article 35A is needed to be addressed.

Source: Hindustan Times

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