Supreme Court Allows Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad to Visit J&K

Azad said he filed the petition in his personal capacity, to meet his family.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday granted senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad permission to visit his home state to enquire about the well-being of his family members.

Azad said he had filed the petition in his personal capacity and it is apolitical. The bench allowed the Congress leader to visit the state on the assurance that he would not engage in any political activities while there, LiveLaw reported.

His plea was taken up by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.A. Bobde and S. Abdul Nazeer on Monday morning.

Azad had tried to visit the state after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status but was sent back from the airport by authorities.

On former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s statement supporting the reading down of Article 370 which was at variance with the party’s stand, Azad said, “A law has been made. The matter is not in the hands of politicians any more. The Supreme Court will decide”.

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While the Congress had taken a strong position against the move, Azad said the media should not analyse his petition before the top court.

“I have filed the petition in my personal capacity, not on behalf of the Congress. It has nothing do with politics and is based purely on humanitarian grounds. I tried thrice to go to my home state but was refused permission. Almost one-third of Kashmiri people are lakhs who do labour to earn their daily livelihood and nobody is bothered to know how are they surviving.

“I have expressed concern about the plight of those people on humanitarian basis, being a native, and as a member of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir. It has been 42 days…What are they eating, drinking and how are they surviving, this is a question to the state government, the central government and to the media as well,” he said.

In his petition before the top court, he also sought permission to check on social conditions in the state after the clampdown imposed by the authorities in the aftermath of the revocation of provisions of Article 370.

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Several opposition leaders, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, had sought to visit Jammu and Kashmir, but were not allowed to do so and were sent back from the airport itself.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury had moved the apex court to see his ailing party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, which allowed him to pay a visit but with certain conditions.

The top court had on September 5, allowed former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Javed to meet her in Kashmir, where she is under detention following the revocation of the state’s special status.

The apex court had allowed Iltija to meet her mother in private but said that as far as moving around in other parts of Srinagar goes, she can do so subject to the permission from district authorities.

(With PTI inputs)