Jammu & Kashmir The Newsfeed

Stopped at Lakhanpur, why Simranjit Singh Mann wanted to visit Kashmir

JAMMU: In a high voltage drama that is still unfolding at the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president and Member of Parliament from Sangrur in Punjab, Simranjit Singh Mann was on Monday evening stopped at Lakhanpur, thus preventing him from entering the union territory.

Mann was stopped on the orders of district magistrate Kathua, Rahul Pandey, issued under section 144 CrPC which apprehended that Mann’s visit is likely to cause ‘disturbance in public tranquillity’, leading to strong protest by the politician and his supporters late Monday night.

In his bid to press the administration to allow him to proceed to Jammu and then Kashmir, Mann has extended his dharna at Lakhanpur, bordering Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Hundreds of supporters have joined Mann at Lakhanpur over the last 24 hours, including his lawyers; however, the situation has largely remained peaceful in the Kathua district.

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.


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