Stop political tourism in J&K; allow free access: Cong

“This political tourism of taking Ambassadors on a guided tour of J&K should be stopped. This is our demand in the context of J&K,” Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh told reporters here. Credit: PTI

As foreign envoys undertook an official visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress on Thursday asked the Modi government to “stop political tourism” and re-start “meaningful political activity” in the newly-carved out union territory.

Congress also accused the Modi government of practicing “double standards” by organising “guided tours” to Jammu and Kashmir for foreign envoys, but barring Indian politicians from visiting the region.

“This political tourism of taking Ambassadors on a guided tour of J&K should be stopped. This is our demand in the context of J&K,” Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.

Ramesh, a former union minister, made it clear that the Congress was not opposed to such a visit, but Indian politicians should also be allowed to visit there.

The Congress leader recalled that former party president Rahul Gandhi-led delegation of Opposition leaders was turned away from the Srinagar airport in August last year. He also noted that former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court to allow them to visit J&K.

“We demand that the government allows unfettered access to Jammu and Kashmir to all politicians and not resort to guided tours for envoys,” Ramesh said.

He said Jammu and Kashmir had not witnessed any “meaningful political activity” in the past five months and hit out at the Modi government for keeping three former chief ministers under house arrest.

Ramesh also accused the Modi government of furthering politics of polarisation at a time when the economic situation was “grim and alarming”.

“Though it is a fact that people are agitated across the country over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, they are raising their voice against polarization. But in the midst of all this we should not forget that the economic condition is not only alarming but becoming dangerous,” the Congress leader said.

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