Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was stopped at the Jammu airport on Tuesday and sent back to Delhi, a party leader said, the second time in a month the former chief minister was not allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir. "Azad sahib had arrived from Delhi at around 2.45 pm and was not allowed to move out from the airport and forcibly sent back in a return flight to Delhi at 4.10 pm," state Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma told PTI.
The leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha was not allowed to go home or attend the party meeting at state Congress headquarters either, Azad's close aides said.
The Congress leader will return back to Delhi in the evening through a GoAir flight.
"It is unfortunate that he (Azad) is not allowed into his home state in the past two weeks," Sharma said. "He is the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, member of Rajya Sabha from the state and leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha."
The Congress spokesperson said Azad just wanted to come and meet some people to know about the prevailing situation.
"Denying him permission shows that how the mainstream national party is not being allowed to interact and discuss the current situation," he said, adding that the Congress and its leaders were not "trouble-makers" that the state was behaving like this.
This was his second attempt to reach Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier the Congress MP and Kashmir Congress chief Gulam Ahmed Mir were detained at the Srinagar airport on August 8 and sent back to Delhi.
The two landed at the Srinagar airport after taking a flight from Delhi and were immediately stopped at the airport. Ghulam Nabi Azad were sent back to Delhi on a Vistara flight at 3.30 pm.
According to sources, the two Congress leaders were stopped from entering Kashmir over security concerns and as a preventive measure.
Authorities were concerned that allowing political leaders to interact with Kashmiris may flare up tension in the region that is seeing an unprecedented lockdown.
Before leaving for Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi slammed National Security Advisor Ajit Doval over his video of interacting and eating with Kashmiris on the streets of Kashmir amid the ongoing lockdown.
Kashmir had been facing a lockdown since August 4, a day before the Centre passed a resolution to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Section 144 has been imposed in Kashmir amid additional troop deployment across the state. Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated into two Union Territories by the Modi government.
(With PTI inputs)