JAMMU: Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann has moved a Jammu and Kashmir court to challenge the administration’s order denying him entry into the Union territory, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Mann has been sitting on a protest in Lakhanpur since Monday against the administration’s decision. Thursday is the fourth day of the protest. The MP from Sangrur in Punjab was stopped on orders of Kathua District Magistrate Rahul Pandey on Monday evening, leading to the protest by the politician and his supporters.
In his order issued under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Pandey said it had been brought to his notice by the senior superintendent of police that Mann was scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir and his visit was likely to cause “disturbance in public tranquility”.
Mann filed a petition in the court of the chief judicial magistrate of Kathua through advocate T N Gupta, challenging the district magistrate’s order denying him entry into Jammu and Kashmir.
Gupta said Mann has challenged the order on grounds that he was granted approval for his visit to the Union territory a few days ago.
“As per the protocol of his visit fixed by the additional deputy commissioner (Kathua), he left for J&K on October 17 (from Punjab). But when he reached here, the district magistrate of Kathua gave him this order (of denying entry into J&K). So he is challenging it,” Gupta said.
Gupta said the matter will be taken up on Thursday. He said that Mann has also demanded the restoration of his basic rights as a senior citizen as well as an elected MP.
In a tweet late Wednesday night, Mann said: I put in a petition challenging the order of District Magistrate, Kathua ordering me to leave Jammu & Kashmir with immediate effect on 17th. Hoping the sessions judge will announce his verdict against illegally preventing my tour into J&K tomorrow when the court rises.
Amid the ensuing standoff, Mann has criticised the UT administration, the Indian Army and even union Home Minister Amit Shah, questioning the restricting that have barred him from visiting Kashmir, the first from a Punjab politician from the neighbouring state after the abrogation of Article 370.
Mann claimed he wanted to visit Jammu and Kashmir to obtain a first-hand view about the situation in the Union Territory, post abrogation of Article 370 and present the ‘real picture’ to the outside world.
“I wanted to meet people and ascertain their views. There is no legislature in J&K which is under military rule. There is no democracy. I have come to visit the people of Kashmir to see myself what is happening there, post abrogation of Article370. I want to highlight the real picture to the outside world,” he said.
“How can one address their issues unless one meets them in person and asks them about the problems they are facing,” said the MP, referring to the recent spate in killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
Mann alleged that BJP and RSS did not allow his entry into Jammu and Kashmir because he was a Sikh.
“Union Home Minister Mr. Shah says there is complete peace in J&K. Thus, I see no reason to prevent entry of a peaceful delegation, visiting and enquiring upon the people of J&K. Our Party is against such tyranny and special powers given to the army to kill, molest, kidnap, murder and detain any Kashmiri with impunity,” said the MP, in a series of events.