- Sitaram Yechury being detained at Srinagar airport, CPM tweeted
- He said he had written to the Governor about his visit to Srinagar
- He said he wanted to meet CPM MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and his party colleague D Raja were sent back from Srinagar airport after they landed there amid a lockdown in Kashmir valley today.
"...This despite the fact that he had informed the administration about his visit to meet CPIM MLA MY Tarigami who is not well & other party workers. We strongly protest this illegal detention," CPI(M) tweeted today.
Thousands of security personnel have fanned out across Kashmir valley to watch out for any trouble following the government's move to end special status and turn Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Before taking the flight, Mr Yechury tweeted he had asked for permission from Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to meet his colleague Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, but despite that he and Mr Raja were not allowed to step out of the airport.
"They showed us a legal order which did not allow any entry into Srinagar. It stated that even with escorted movement, entry to the city was not allowed due to security reasons," Mr Yechury told news agency PTI on phone.
"Both of us had written to the J&K governor requesting him that there should be no hurdles for our visit... I wanted to meet my ailing colleague and our comrades who are here," said Mr Yechury.
The CPI(M) in a statement said the detention at Srinagar airport before the two leaders were sent back was an "anti-democratic" act. "The politburo calls upon the people to protest this anti-democratic act of the BJP government," the statement said.
Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad was also stopped at Srinagar airport and sent back on Thursday. Mr Azad, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had come to Srinagar to meet with Congress leaders.
Some 400 political leaders, including former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, are in custody as the government tries to avoid protests or rallies. Mr Malik on Thursday assured that restrictions would be softened for Friday prayers and Eid festival next week.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the nation on his Kashmir decisions on Thursday, said the government would ensure that people didn't face any difficulties during Eid-ul-Adha celebrations on Monday.