J&K: No entry in Kashmir for activist

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Jammu:  Kashmir is out of bounds for Gautam Navlakha, an outspoken human rights activist known for his pro-separatist views.

Last Saturday, Navlakha was detained at the Srinagar Airport and ordered to return to Delhi as the state government felt his presence could disturb peace and order in the Valley.

Farooq Abdullah, the chief minister's father asked, "What does that writer want - to burn Kashmir? Let them burn some other place in India."

"This act comes in the wake of summer of last year. It appears that the government is suffering from summer syndrome. Gautam Navlakha has been visiting Kashmir for the last 21 years. He has never been responsible for inciting people,"said Khuram Parvez, Member, International Tribunal for Human rights in Kashmir.

Navlakha, a frequent traveller to the Valley, has written extensively about alleged human rights violations in the state.

His detention has fuelled a debate about individual freedom and how far the government can go in the name of maintaining law and order?

Navlakha has called his detention "paranoia unbecoming of the state authorities". The PDP says the government is frustrated.

"This has not only been a blot on state government itself, I think it is a blot they have brought to democracy in the whole country," said Naeem Akhtar, Chief Spokesman PDP.

This is the second such case in less than five months.

In January, senior BJP leaders, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, were detained at Jammu airport, foiling their plan to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

How could a human rights activist from Delhi been a threat to peace in Kashmir? So far there is no convincing answer from the government. But deportation of Mr Navlakha is an indicator of nervousness in the government about maintaining peace and not to allow repeat of 2010 civilian unrest in Kashmir.

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