February 12, 2020

Visiting foreign delegation should meet Farooq, Omar, Mehbooba: Soz

Srinagar: Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Wednesday said that the 24-member foreign delegation, which is on two-day visit to Kashmir, should meet three former chief ministers of J&K, who have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), to get first hand information about situation in the newly created UT.

Mr Soz said the J&K administration should also facilitate a visit of the delegation to see him at his residence, where he remained under house arrest since August 5, when centre abrogated Article 370 and Article 35A, besides bifurcated the state into two Union Territories (UTs).

“MoS Home G Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha, yesterday that the delegation of foreign envoys including the law makers of the European Union was to visit Kashmir, today. In my opinion, MoS Home mislead the house by saying that anybody could visit Kashmir,” Mr Soz said in a statement issued here on Wednesday.

He said the fact is in public domain, in clear terms, that senior leaders of the national opposition were consistently not allowed to visit Kashmir, in recent times. “Two senior leaders of the National Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yachouri were not allowed to enter Kashmir even when they had arrived at the Srinagar Airport,” he said.

He said it was later that the Supreme Court had intervened and allowed Mr Sitaram to visit Kashmir, after imposing certain conditions. “The MoS Home has, therefore, blatantly misled the house by making an incorrect statement,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said he has written to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, on the manner in which ‘only the people sponsored by the government agencies are facilitated to meet the visiting foreign delegations’. “This happened last time also when the foreign delegation visited Srinagar and this is going to happen again,” he alleged.

“I requested the Divisional Commissioner that since I am under house arrest, he may facilitate a visit of the delegation to see me at my residence. I also stressed the fact that I have some ideas to offer to the visiting delegation,” he said.

“In the same communication, I requested the Divisional Commissioner to consider my suggestion that the visiting delegation should meet three former chief ministers, among others, so that they are enabled to have a fuller assessment of the prevailing situation in Kashmir,” he added.

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