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    India’s Opposition Parties Protest, Demand Release of Kashmir Leaders

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian opposition leaders claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime is stifling democracy in Kashmir, during a rally in New Delhi on Thursday. They also demanded the release of political leaders under detention in the region.

    Opposition leaders have held a rally in New Delhi in support of two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been held under house arrest since the state was stripped of its special constitutional status at the start of August.

    Omar Abdullah of the regional National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party were taken into preventive detention on 4 August, a day before the federal government brought in legislation to revoke Kashmir's special status.

    The opposition leaders demanded the immediate release of Abdullah and Mufti, the removal of emergency powers in Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of telecommunication services in the state.

    The protest was attended by the leaders of the opposition Congress Party, two Communist parties, the regional Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam party of southern Tamil Nadu and the Trinamool Congress of eastern West Bengal. 

    Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that the government allow political leaders to visit the Kashmir to take stock of the situation there.

    "Let me tell you, we are no more a democracy. If anyone thinks that he is living in democracy that person is living in fool's paradise," Azad told the gathering.

    ​Azad, who tried to visit Sringar, the summer capital and Jammu, the winter capital was turned away by the state administration. Similarly, Communist party leaders Sitaram Yechuri and D Raja were detained at Srinagar airport.

    On 19 August, Azad said that the decision to scrap Article 370 was wrong, and that he wanted the decision to be reversed.  

    Meanwhile, police in the Jammu and Kashmir claimed that the situation in the Kashmir valley remained peaceful.

     

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    special status, Narendra Modi, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
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