November 2019 News

Situation In Valley Far From Normal, Says Yashwant Sinha After Leading Delegation To Kashmir

22 November 2019
Aakash Hassan

Srinagar: Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who is on a four-day visit to Kashmir with a delegation, said credit for peace in the Valley goes to its residents and not the government or security forces. The civil society delegation, led by Sinha, arrived here on Friday to assess the situation in the Valley and the economic losses suffered by the people over the last three months after the shutdown following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370. Rejecting the statement of Union Home Minster Amit Shah that the situation in Kashmir is normal, Sinha said, 'The situation is far from normal as all the shops are closed. How can you say this is normalcy?' Sinha was accompanied by members of the 'Concerned Citizens' Group', including former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, and journalists Bharat Bhushan and Sushoba Bharve. Reacting to Shah's statement in the Parliament that not a single bullet has been fired in Kashmir since August 5, Sinha said 'credit for peace in Kashmir goes to the people of Kashmir and not the government or the security forces'. Sinha spoke to National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who has been detained under provisions of the Public Safety Act (PSA) after the revocation of Article 370. Sinha, who spoke to Abdullah on phone, said the latter is in high spirits. 'We will now request the authorities for a meeting with him,' Sinha said after meeting members of the Chamber of Commerce at a hotel here. Sinha in September was sent back from the Srinagar airport when he attempted to visit to access the situation in the Valley. Sinha said he has informed Abdullah that if the meeting with him didn't materialise, they will wave at him from outside his residence. Sinha said he spoke to CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami and will also try to communicate with former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, adding the delegation will attempt to speak with more people before concluding their visit on November 25. Earlier, the group held a meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce and traders in Kashmir. The delegation's arrival has come in the wake of discussions on Kashmir in the Parliament, with the Opposition demanding the release of Farooq Abdullah.