Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad (Photo Source: PTI)
New Delhi :
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was on a six-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday said there is no democracy in the state and added that people are leaving in fear following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution by the Centre on August 5.
Addressing the media on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Delhi, Azad said, "There is disappointment in Kashmir and the despair is also prevalent among the people in Jammu province. Except 100 or 200 people of the ruling party (BJP), nobody is happy (over the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories)".
Azad, who had on Friday arrived in Kashmir, where he spent four days, said the situation in the Valley is "very bad". It was his first visit to the state after the BJP government at the Centre revoked the Article 370, stripping the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, his attempts to visit Srinagar had failed for several time as he was turned back from the airport by the authorities. "I have not seen such a terror of the administration anywhere in the world. Democracy is nowhere in the state after the change in its status. It has vanished from the state," Azad said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister claimed that the people are afraid of talking, feeling that someone was going to tip-off the government about it. "With the change in the status, the voices have also been suppressed and there is no place for freedom of speech, freedom of expression or freedom of agitation," he said.
"Even if somebody is talking about normal protests over the demands for electricity and water, he is asked which jail he wants to go in India," the Congress leader alleged.
Soon after his arrival in Jammu on the second leg of his visit, Azad on Tuesday said, "I have not even been 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".
During his visit, a number of delegations representing various sections of the society including traders, transporters and border residents also met Azad at his residence in Jammu. The Congress leader also visited traders of Raghunath Bazar, Purani Mandi, Residency Road and other areas of the city to know about their difficulties in the prevailing situation in the state.
Azad's visit became possible after the Supreme Court on September 16 allowed him to tour four districts, including Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla, Anantnag in the state.