Jammu, Sep 19: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday reached here on the second-leg of his six-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir and said the situation in the Valley is “very bad”.
Azad, the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had reached Srinagar on Friday on his maiden visit to the state after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.
His three earlier bids to reach Srinagar had failed as he had been 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.”
Azad’s visit 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.
The bench had been told by Azad’s counsel and senior advocate A M 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.
A senior Congress leader said Azad will restrict his visit to Jammu district alone as per the Supreme Court directive.
“He will hold meetings with party activists and will be interacting with cross-section of people to assess the situation,” he said. He said it is unfortunate that Azad had to seek the permission from the apex court to visit his home state, where majority of the mainstream political leaders have been placed under detention or house arrest since the scrapping of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
JK Govt announces winter vacations for schools from Dec 10
SRINAGAR, DECEMBER 09: Government today ordered winter vacation for all Government Educational Institutions and recognized private schools up to Higher Secondary level functioning in the Kashmir Division and winter zone areas of Jammu Division from December 10 to February 22, 2020.
The order was issued in view of foggy conditions and forecast of further dip in temperature along with rains and snowfall over next week.
Kashmiri bizman released until Mar 2020
New Delhi, Dec 7: Former head of Kashmir Chambers of Commerce Mubeen Shah, who was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act in the aftermath of the August 5 developments in Jammu and Kashmir, was released on Saturday after the Union Territory’s administration “temporarily released” him for three months, officials said.
Shah, a non-resident Indian who is based out of Malaysia, was released this morning after an order issued by the Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir was handed over to jail authorities.
The order said that he had been temporarily released for a period of three months and should surrender on March 7, 2020.
Shah was among the host of politicians, social activists and businessmen detained on August 5, when the Centre withdrew special status to the erstwhile state and also bifurcated it into two union territories – Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Domicile, job protection; Rights of locals will be protected to maximum limits: BJP
Srinagar, Dec 7: Amidst growing demand for domicile certificate and job protection following abrogation of Article 370 provisions, the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Saturday assured the people that their rights would be protected to permissible maximum limits under the Constitution. It accused opposition parties and groups of making “false and irresponsible” statements to incite public.
“The government is already working to protect to maximum permissible under the Constitution of India parameters, the right of local population for land ownership, Industries and jobs and there is no need for any person to worry on that account,” the BJP’s chief spokesperson in Jammu and Kashmir, Sunil Sethi, said in a statement here. He said Jammu and Kashmir is in the “safest political hands” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and people should pay no heed to any “misgivings and misinformation” by vested elements.
“The applicability of the Constitution to Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in toto and consequential abolition of discriminatory Art 370 and Art 35A as also erstwhile state Constitution is the biggest constitutional change since Independence and this huge development has taken place to give justice and equality to all Indians, including residents of Jammu Kashmir, and Ladakh. “This development is bringing and ensuring all round development and equality in all regions of Jammu and Kashmir,” Sethi said.
In an apparent reference to the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party and the Congress who are demanding domicile certificate and job protection, Sethi alleged that these parties, left without any logical stand and political issues, are trying to incite public by making false and irresponsible statements. The Constitution permits protection of local population and various states and Union Territories have made laws and regulations for saving interest of local population, while keeping rights of national population intact, he said.