Opposition delegation boards flight to Srinagar

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) A delegation of Opposition parties, led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, boarded a flight to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, their first since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

However, sources said the delegation would be sent back from the airport as the state administration urged them not to visit the state, saying attempts should not be made to disturb the gradual restoration of normalcy there. Jammu and Kashmir has been under a security clampdown since the abrogation of Article 370, that accorded the state a special status.

Other leaders in the delegation, include Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and K.C. Venugopal, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) chief Sharad Yadav, Dinesh Trivedi, Tiruchi Siva, Majeed Memon, Manoj Jha and D. Kupendra Reddy.

CPI leader D. Raja told reporters that they were not going to the Valley to create any law and order problem.

"We are citizens of the country. So is everyone in Jammu and Kashmir. We are not people who will make things difficult for anyone. We just want to go and see the situation on the ground," Sharad Yadav told reporters.

Ghulam Nabi Azad also assured the media that they were not going to break any law as they were leaders of responsible political parties.

"The government says the situation in J&K is normal. But then they don't allow leaders to go there? Haven't seen such contradiction. If things are normal there, why aren't we allowed to visit the place?" Azad wondered.

--IANS

ak/sak/rtp

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