NC Leader Stopped from Boarding Flight To Dubai

Ex MLA Says, Was Treated Like A ‘Dreaded Criminal’ At IGI Airport

New Delhi: As many as 33 politicians of Jammu and Kashmir have been named in a list that bars them from travelling abroad, as a result of which former National Conference MLA Atlaf Ahmed Wani was prevented from boarding a flight to Dubai, according to official sources on Friday.

They said that the names of former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are not in the list, which has mostly former legislators and former ministers from various political parties.

Wani, who was stopped on Thursday evening from boarding the flight to Dubai where he was to attend a family function, said, “Thanks to the authorities, I am left with no luggage as it took off with my family.”

“I reached the international airport on Thursday afternoon. Upon reaching the immigration counter, I was escorted to a room on the pretext that there was some error in my passport,” Wani, who represented Pahalgam assembly seat, told PTI here.

For nearly three hours, says Wani, there was no clarity as to why he was stopped.

“I convinced my family to go ahead while I requested the immigration officials to give me some clarity.

“After nearly three hours, my passport was handed over and I had to return to my accommodation in Delhi. Before that, I had to make some purchases because my luggage was checked in amid the confusion,” he said, adding that he has been conveyed that he cannot travel till March 2021.

A local news agency KNT quoted Wani as saying that he was not only stopped from boarding the flight but also treated like a “dreaded criminal” for several hours.

“It was only after intervention of Kashmir police officers that I was released and allowed to travel back to Kashmir,” he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had handed over a list of around 37 people post August 5 last year when the special status of the erstwhile state was abrogated and it was converted into two union territories.

The list at that time contained names of political leaders from National Conference, PDP, JK People’s Conference including Ali Mohammed Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Nayeem Akhtar, Sajjad Lone his brother Bilal Lone, Wani, Basharat Bukhari among others.

The list was initially valid for three months after which it was validated further after a review, the sources said.

It was, however, pruned and the number came down to 33 after some of leaders, who formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party including its chief Altaf Bukhari, were taken off from the look out notice.

Meanwhile, taking strong exception to barring Kaloo from travelling abroad, an NC spokesperson here said that the measure tantamount to infringement of one’s basic civil liberties.

“Former elected representatives are being treated like criminals and are having basic freedoms denied to them simply because they hail from Kashmir. It was also said that a list of 38 mainstream Kashmiri leaders are on an exit control list. If it’s true then the centre must be transparent and release the names on this list along with the justification for such a drastic and unacceptable move,” NC spokesperson Imran Dar said.

“Such measures are unacceptable in a democratic country. The unjust treatment meted out to Altaf Kaloo defies all democratic norms and civil liberties enshrined in the country’s constitution. The party strongly condemns it,” he added.

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