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Sitaram Yechury, D. Raja detained at Srinagar airport

Sitaram Yechury  

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his CPI counterpart D. Raja were detained at the Srinagar airport and sent back by the security forces on Friday.

The leaders questioned the government's claim that the situation in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir was normal. “If all is well as the Central government is claiming, why were we stopped,” Mr. Yechury asked at a press conference after landing back in the Capital. He said the Narendra Modi government had forgotten the principles proposed by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of “Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamoriyat”. “If the government claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India, then so are Kashmiris. You can't separate the two.”

They criticised the Centre’s decision on Article 370 without holding consultations with the people or the political parties of the State. They also questioned the reasons for detaining former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

Mr. Raja said Kashmir was tense and an atmosphere of fear prevailed there. “The situation was far from normal. The political parties or the people were not taken into confidence by the government before revoking Article 370. There is a great amount of uncertainty in the minds of people about the future,” he noted.

‘Governor informed of our visit’

Both Mr. Yechury and Mr. Raja said they had informed Governor Satya Pal Malik a day before, about their visit. They were headed to meet CPI(M) leader and former MLA Yusuf Tarigami. They said the government violated their democratic right to meet their own comrade. The moment they alighted from the flight, they were whisked away by security forces, their bags taken away and they were confined to a room. They were informed that they can't be allowed to step out of the airport because of the prevailing law and order situation in the State, they added.

The leaders were at the Srinagar airport for more than four hours.

Mr. Yechury said, “It is our democratic right to meet our own comrade, who has been keeping unwell. The Central government wants everyone to believe that there is no curfew in Kashmir and everything is normal. But our experience today shows that the place has been completely taken over by security forces. The repression is palpable and visible to everyone.” The State has been completely taken over by the Central government, he alleged.

Mr. Raja said, “India doesn't belong to the BJP alone. It belongs to us. We should be allowed to go to any part of the country to meet people.”

On Thursday, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former Chief Minister of the State, was similarly stopped at the airport.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 11:34:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sitaram-yechury-d-raja-detained-at-srinagar-airport/article28928817.ece

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