With the official shutdown in Kashmir entering its 20th day, the Congress on Sunday accused the Modi government of curtailing the freedom and civil liberties of the people.
Posting a video on Twitter of his aborted visit to Srinagar along with 11 other Opposition leaders on August 24, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “It’s been 20 days since the people of Jammu & Kashmir had their freedom and civil liberties curtailed. Leaders of the Opposition and the Press got a taste of the draconian administration and brute force unleashed on the people when we tried to visit Srinagar yesterday.”
Mobile phones and Internet remain cut off and movement of people is restricted, though officially no curfew has been imposed.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said the party would continue to raise the issue of the continuing lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, which entered its 20th day, and the denial of basic right to the people of the State.
Responding to criticism that the Opposition was trying to “politicise” the Kashmir situation, Ms. Vadra said there was nothing more “political” and “anti-national” than the alleged “shutting down” of democratic rights in Kashmir.
Taking to Twitter a day after an Opposition delegation — led by former Congress chief and her brother Rahul Gandhi — was denied entry into the Valley, Ms. Vadra tagged a video in which an emotional woman is seen telling Mr. Gandhi, on the flight from Srinagar, of problems being faced by her family and loved ones due to the restrictions.
“How long is this going to continue? This is one out of millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of ‘Nationalism’,” the Congress leader said in a tweet accompanying the video.
“For those who accuse the opposition of ‘politicising’ this issue: There is nothing more ‘political’ and ‘anti-national’ than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir,” Ms. Vadra said.
“It is the duty of every one of us to raise our voices against it, we will not stop doing so.”
The opposition delegation was consisting of Mr. Gandhi, General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal, former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma along with other opposition leaders including CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, DMK leader Tiruchi Siva, RJD's Manoj K Jha and TMC's Dinesh Trivedi were denied permission to step out of the Srinagar airport on Saturday.
Late on August 23, the J&K administration issued a statement asking political leaders not to visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life.