Yechury, Raja detained; sent back from Srinagar

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 09, 2019 Published on August 09, 2019

Leaders sent back to Delhi; say govt cannot curb rights of political workers

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and his CPI counterpart D Raja were detained at Srinagar airport and sent back to Delhi on Friday. While Yechury was in the Valley to meet Mohd Yusuf Tarigami, his party’s leader and former MLA, Raja wanted to meet the members of CPI.

The leaders said they protested for four hours at the airport against the decision of the authorities to deny them entry.

Talking to reporters in Delhi, Yechury and Raja said both had sent separate letters to State Governor Satya Pal Malik informing him about their decision to visit the State. They said that soon after reaching Srinagar airport, a posse of policemen approached them. “They took away our bags,” Yechury said. They asked the police to present the legal documents required for their detention. “A magistrate was summoned who told us that we cannot enter the city even with police protection as it may create a law-and-order situation,” he added.

‘Govt curbing rights’

The Centre was putting curbs on the democratic rights of political workers. “How can they deny entry to the general secretaries of two national parties? If everything is under control as claimed by the Centre, then why were we stopped?” Yechury asked.

He said the valley is completely under the control of central forces. “While the central government wants everyone to believe that there is no curfew in Kashmir and everything is normal, our experience today shows that the place has been completely taken over by the security forces. The repression is palpable,” he added.

Yechury added that his party will seek the legal route to trace four-time MLA Tarigami. “Since Sunday, we do not know the whereabouts of Yusuf Tarigami and other comrades. As we were detained at the airport, we have left a note for Tarigami. We will explore all legal options to trace him,” he said.

CPI General Secretary Raja urged people to rise in support of of Kashmiris. “The situation is not normal at all. It is very tense and scary. The government should not have behaved in such a manner,” Raja said and added that even former Chief Minister of the State Ghulam Nabi Azad was detained and not allowed to visit the Valley.

“The BJP must understand the country does not belong to them,” he said and maintained that he and Yechury did not go to Kashmir as ‘underground activists’.

The Opposition has been urging the Centre to release the political leaders who are under arrest and detention. The Congress unit in the State said in a statement that senior party leaders Saifuddin Soz, Peerzada Mohd Sayeed, Haji Abdul Rashid Dar, Gulam Nabi Monga, Farooq Andrabi, Mohd Amin Bhat, Gular Ahmad Wani and others who are under house arrest since since August 4 should be released immediately.

Published on August 09, 2019
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