Sinha & Co Confined To Hotel In Srinagar

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A civil society group, which includes former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha (R) along with journalist Bharat Bhushan (L) and civil society activist Kapil Kak (C) talk to media persons after their arrival in Srinagar on Friday, Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR: The five-member group led by former BJP leader and union finance Minister Yashwant Sinha visiting Kashmir was on Saturday prevented by Jammu & Kashmir authorities from travelling outside Srinagar citing a terrorist threat in the areas they intended to visit.

“We had planned to visit Pulwama, Shopian and Budgam but authorities restricted our movement and kept us confined in our hotel in Srinagar,” Sinha said.

Yashwant Sinha, who is on a four-day visit to Kashmir with a delegation including former Diviosnal Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, Kapil Kak and S.Bharti said the mood of people after the abrogation of Article 370 is very somber and melancholic and they are extremely unhappy.

The delegation, led by Sinha, arrived here on Friday to assess the situation in the Valley and the economic losses suffered by the people over the last three months after the spontaneous shutdown following the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sinha said that he is grateful to people who arrived here in Srinagar from Pulwama to meet us. “Though we were not allowed to visit Pulwama but locals from there arrived at our hotel and we held interaction with them. We met a lot of people at our hotel in Srinagar and felt their pain. There is anger and frustration.

Alienation is showing upward trend,” Sinha said.
“During the interactions with people whom we met, we find people are very angry and in no way support the decision of Government of India to annul special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Anger it seems is brewing and people are dissatisfied,” Sinha said adding that Kashmir has suffered huge economic loss due to shutdown imposed upon them.

When asked whether the delegation will meet incarcerated political leaders including three former Chief Ministers, Sinha said that they had planned to meet them but authorities are in no mood to facilitate our meeting with them. “It seems we won’t be able to meet incarcerated political leaders of Kashmir as the permission has already been denied,” he said.

Scores of political leaders are facing detention. Dr Farooq Abdullah is facing detention under Public Safety Act while after the abrogation of Article 370, authorities have also put former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under detention. (KNT)

No normalcy in Kashmir: Kapil Kak

Civil society activist Kapil Kak, who is part of concerned group of citizens (CGC) currently on visit to Kashmir, Saturday belied government of India’s normalcy claims in the Valley post abrogation of Article 370.

While taking to Kashmir News Service, Kak said, “We have come here to assess the situation. Government claims that normalcy has returned and we wanted to reconfirm it. What we observed that there is no normalcy as we can’t even travel freely here.”

He said that they had plans to visit south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts followed by Budgam. “But we were not allowed to move out of our hotel. We are here for another two days and will continue to talk to cross section of people to seek their views on what is the situation they are going through and how can we help them to come out of it,” Kak said.

“We met lawyers, traders, economic alliance people and panchayat representatives and will continue to meet people in coming days,” he added. (KNS)

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