Indian opposition parties delegation leaves for occupied Kashmir

India's top opposition leaders plan to visit Kashmir despite pleas to keep away

Other leaders in the delegation, include Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and K.C. Venugopal, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) chief Sharad Yadav, Dinesh Trivedi, Tiruchi Siva, Majeed Memon, Manoj Jha and D. Kupendra Reddy.

The Jammu and Kashmir government said late on Friday political leaders had been asked not to visit Srinagar as the administration works to restore order after weeks of protests against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's August 5 decision to withdraw autonomy for the state.

The Indian opposition leaders were expected to visit some other parts of the valley, however, authorities in occupied Kashmir did not allow any Indian leader to enter the valley.

The Congress had tweeted that the visit led by Gandhi was "an attempt to review the reality in the region after the abrogation of Article 370". But there was no official comment on Saturday on disallowing the opposition leaders from visiting Srinagar and other parts of the region. "We aren't going in as the government's opposition, we are going in government's support so that we too give suggestions as to what must be done". Congress MP Azad was not allowed to enter the state and was stopped twice, both at Srinagar and Jammu.

Since reports of the Opposition's delegation impending visit to the state surfaced, the Jammu and Kashmir Information and Public Relations Department advised them to stay put. Haven't seen such contradiction... "It's clear that situation in Jammu & Kashmir isn't normal", the senior Congress leader further added.

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Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday questioned the claims of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that if it was so why several political leaders in the state are under house arrest.

When their plane arrived in Srinagar, the politicians were not allowed to leave the airport and were sent back within a few hours.

"Some days ago, I was invited by Governor to visit Jammu and Kashmir". Mr Azad asked as he left from Delhi this morning.

"They would also be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas".

Last week, Indian's Home Affairs Ministry announced it was relaxing some movement and communications restrictions that had been imposed, but on Friday, those restrictions were partially reinstated as protesters took to the streets.

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