Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who is on a six-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir, has described the situation in Kashmir “very bad.”
Azad, who belongs to Jammu and Kashmir is on his maiden visit to the state since the Centre abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019. The leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had reached Srinagar on Friday after his three earlier bids to reach Srinagar had failed as he was turned back from the airport by the authorities.
When asked by reporters as to what was his assessment of the situation in Kashmir, Azad replied, “It is very bad.”
“I do not have to say anything to media right now. I spent four days in Kashmir and arrived here to spend two more days in Jammu. After the end of the six-day tour, I will say whatever I have to say,” he told reporters outside his residence here.
In response to another question about submitting of his assessment report of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to the Supreme Court, the former state chief minister said a decision on this would be taken after his return to Delhi. “I was not even allowed by the administration to visit 10 per cent of the places where I had planned to go in the valley during my stay there,” he said.
Asked about detention of political leaders and curbs on political activities, Azad said, “There is no mark of freedom of speech in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The visit of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir became possible after the Supreme Court on September 16 allowed him to tour the state.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had allowed the Congress leader to visit four districts, Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla, Anantnag to meet people ans assess the situation.
The bench had been told by Azad’s counsel and senior advocate AM Singhvi that the Congress leader wants to meet people and inquire about their welfare. In his petition filed in his “personal capacity”, Azad had told the Supreme Court that he had tried to visit the state thrice, but was turned back from the airport.
Earlier the Supreme Court had granted permission to CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury to travel to Srinagar to meet his party colleague Yusuf Tarigami.