Left leader Sitaram Yechury today became the first opposition leader to visit Jammu and Kashmir nearly a month after the centre scrapped special status from the state and divided it into two union territories. A Kashmiri student who wants to meet his parents is also on his way to Jammu and Kashmir, a day after the Supreme Court allowed him and Mr Yechury to visit the state.
From Srinagar airport, Mr Yechury was taken away in a seven-vehicle convoy to his party colleague Yousuf Tarigami's house in Srinagar, news agency IANS reported. Mr Yechury had tried twice before to visit Jammu and Kashmir - he was part of the opposition delegation that flew to Srinagar on Saturday last - but both times, he was turned away from the airport.
While allowing Mr Yechury to visit Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday put a condition that he cannot "indulge in any other issue or it will be treated as a violation of the Supreme Court order."
Before catching a flight from Delhi airport, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader hit out at Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik for his comments that "people will beat them (Congress leaders) with shoes".
"The office of the Governor is not supposed to be used for such comments. In a democracy, everybody has a right to have their opinion. That's their fundamental right and that is the right of their liberty. And if that is attacked in this manner by somebody who is occupying the office of a Governor, that is something which is not acceptable," Mr Yechury said this morning, news agency ANI reported.
I will be travelling to Srinagar to meet our Comrade. Other things, on my return. pic.twitter.com/ciKbQRly0n— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 28, 2019
Mr Yechury had petitioned the court to be allowed to visit former MLA Yousuf Tarigami, saying he was not in good health. The centre argued that Mr Yechury's "appears to be a political visit and it will adversely affect the situation" in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday's hearing, the top court also allowed the Kashmiri student, who wants to meet his parents, to visit Jammu and Kashmir. The student of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, Mohammad Aleem Sayeed, said approaching the Supreme Court was his last resort after he failed to establish any contact with his parents. "I am a law graduate. What would be the point of studying law if I didn't know my rights?"
"Heading towards the land of communication blackhole..." the student tweeted this morning.
Heading towards the land of communication blackhole. I cant thank enough @sanjayuvacha@Vakeel_Sb for making this happen. The fight has just begun it will continue with same vigor. At the same time I will try my level best to send the messages of my friends to their families. IA— Aleem Syeed (@AleemSyeed) August 29, 2019
The security restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the centre scrapped special status from the state are in place for nearly a month now. Some 400 politicians including former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are under arrest. In an attempt to avoid any backlash, phone and internet connections were suspended, more than 50,000 additional troops were stationed and large gatherings were banned.
Mobile phone lines were restored on Wednesday night in five districts of Jammu - Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch.
Defending restrictions on the use of mobile phones and internet, Governor Satya Pal Malik said the curbs were imposed as these facilities could be used against the country, mostly by terrorists and Pakistani forces. "Telephones and Internet connections are of very little use to us. They were being used more by Pakistani forces and terrorists, and that was why we put restrictions on them," Mr Malik said.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.