Azad demands apology from Modi, Shah (2nd Lead)
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday returned to Delhi after he was stopped at the Srinagar airport and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for destroying the identity of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 and demanded an apology from them.
Speaking to reporters at the Indiara Gandhi International Airport here after his arrival from Srinagar, Azad said: "Today people of Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to raise their voice. As long as I am outside and not put behind the bars, I will speak on behalf of the people of Kashmir and all the regions."
Hitting out at the BJP government, Azad said, "The BJP, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister should apologise to each person of Jammu and Kashmir because they have finished the state."
About his visit to the state, the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said, "We had gone to Srinagar so that we could speak with party leaders. But the black law that the NDA government brought has wiped out Kashmir from the Indian map as a state."
He said he left for Srinagar along with Jammu and Kashmir party chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir but were stopped at the Srinagar airport by senior officials saying they have orders not to permit them to enter the city. "So we took the evening flight and reached Delhi around 6 p.m." he said.
Azad was stopped at the Srinagar airport after he arrived to hold a meeting with Congress leaders over the Central government's decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state.
Slamming the government over the curfew in the state, the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said, "When a flight enters Kashmir, it flies low, from Qazigund to Srinagar for over 80 km strectch. On that stretch, I cannot find a single vehicle during my journey from both the sides.
"We have seen the wars of 1965, 1971 and in 1999 -- vehicles ran on the highways and the other roads of the state. But I could not see any vehicvle plying on those highways this time.
"The passengers who met us at the airport said no one can come out of their homes, they cannot visit the residence of any other people. Seems Modi ji has brought such a law through which they have imposed curfew in 22 districts of the state.
"Which law keeps people under curfew for three days?" he asked. Bringing out three-four people on the streets by offering something is not the reality," he said, flaying National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
About BJP leaders demanding an apology from him on his remarks that "by giving money you can take anyone with you", he asked, "Where did the food come from? Everyone has been paid to eat food...they have destroyed a state".
Earlier in the day, before leaving the national capital, Azad stirred a controversy while severely criticizing the government over its move on Jammu and Kashmir. He also dismissed as of no significance Doval's meeting and his having lunch with Kashmiri civilians at Shopian a day earlier.
"By giving money, you can take anyone with you," Azad said in morning.
On Wednesday, Doval was spotted having lunch with local residents in an apparent bid to show that normalcy was slowly returning to the Valley.
Doval was in Kashmir to assess the security situation in the state, which was put under curfew hours ahead of the government's announcement.
All communication, including the Internet and all telephone connections, had also been suspended.