Widespread discontent among Kashmiris: Yechury to Prez

Yechury, who was not allowed to step out of Srinagar airport on Friday after he landed there with his CPI counterpart D Raja, said he had informed Governor Satya Pal Malik about his visit to the state to meet senior CPI(M) MLA Yusuf Tarigami, who was not

Strongly protesting against the government not allowing him to visit Srinagar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday shot off a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, saying there was "widespread discontent" amongst the people of Kashmir and demanded his intervention to ensure that all Indians are permitted to exercise their fundamental rights.

Yechury, who was not allowed to step out of Srinagar airport on Friday after he landed there with his CPI counterpart D Raja, said he had informed Governor Satya Pal Malik about his visit to the state to meet senior CPI(M) MLA Yusuf Tarigami, who was not keeping well and other party leaders.

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"This is strange. I had intimated the Governor...that I would be visiting Srinagar on the 9th to meet Mohd Yusuf Tarigami, CPI(M) Central Committee member and four-time elected MLA of Jammu and Kashmir assembly. He was not keeping well and I was carrying some medicines for him. Despite the knowledge that as the General Secretary of the CPI(M), a national political party, I had the right to visit my party members and my party leaders, particularly when they have health problems, I was denied my basic elementary democratic right," he said.

In the letter, he said he and Raja protested there for over four hours against being denied permission to visit party members, he came to know that there is "widespread discontent" amongst the people and there are a large number of complaints regarding the denial of basic human rights.

"Some news agencies, both foreign and domestic, are reporting about people’s protests and police violence against them. This is a serious matter which needs your consideration and intervention. As the custodian of the Indian Constitution, I urge you to ensure that all Indian citizens are permitted to exercise their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India," he said.

"I have been denied my elementary democratic right when the current central rule functions under your authority. I am writing to you to register my strong protest against this denial of my democratic right," Yechury said.

Narrating the sequence of events, he said as soon as he disembarked from the aircraft, he was surrounded by police and escorted to a room where a senior police officer informed him that his orders are not to allow him to leave the airport. They told Yechury that he should return to Delhi by the earliest flight for which they said they would make the arrangement.

"I had a return ticket for the same evening flight to Delhi. Since I had my return ticket booked, I said that I would travel only by the flight for which I had booked. For over four hours, I was kept under police custody. Comrade D Raja, General Secretary of the CPI, was also accompanying me. When I demanded to see the orders, a district magistrate was produced who had the orders to the effect that our visiting Srinagar could cause law and order problems and hence we are being prohibited to leave the airport," Yechury said.

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