Lift clampdown, let all-party team visit J&K: Congress

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi, Rajnath Singh, Arjun Ram Meghwal, V. Muraleedharan and Thawar Chand Gehlot along with Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and others during the all party meeting in New Delhi, on June 16, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Congress on Tuesday hit out at the Modi government over its “hurried decision” to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir and urged it to lift the Valley-wide clampdown and let an all-party team visit J&K.

Addressing a press conference, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “It is high time an all-party meeting is held and the Prime Minister and Home Minister take the leaders of national parties into full confidence.

“We all wish peace and normalcy in the state. At the same time, India as the largest democracy, must give a very clear message about the rights of its citizens,” Sharma said.

To the government’s assertion about disinformation and rumours in he Valley, he said: “The best answer to that is an all-party delegation’s visit there. Let the media be given the freedom to accompany the delegation to meet the people and tell the world that as Indians, we would not like any entity, in particular, Pakistan to take any unfair advantage of the situation,” Sharma said.

He said the Congress is concerned about the situation in J&K. “We have expressed it through the Congress Working Committee resolution and in statements a few days ago. We again express the same concern about the prevailing situation in the new Union Territories of J&K following certain unilateral decisions of the government taken hurriedly — the clamp down and the news black-out.”

He said people are not able to reach their families, he said.

Referring to the festival of Eid-Al-Adha on Monday, Sharma said, “Yesterday was the festival of Eid. In a country, which is proud of its diversity, a situation must not be allowed where aspersions are cast on the integrity of India’s constitutional democracy.

“Therefore, we would urge the government and also the J&K administration to lift these curbs, release the detained leaders and allow Opposition leaders to visit the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Laddakh.”

Referring to remarks of Governor Satya Pal Malik inviting former Congress President Rahul Gandhi to the state, he said, “The Governor on Monday offered to send his plane to Rahul Gandhi, inviting him to visit Kashmir. I would term it as patronizing. Rahul Gandhi has responded to that; he has not sought the hospitality of the state administration or he does not wish to go there as a guest, but, as a political leader in exercise of his right… he has spoken about the right of other Opposition leaders to visit the state,” he said.

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