Congress slams Centre for disallowing MPs to visit Kashmir

New Delhi, Nov 18 : Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Centre for denying permission to members of Parliament to visit Jammu and Kashmir and giving access to members of the European Union in the region, making Kashmir an “international issue”.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Chowdhury demanded the release of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to attend the winter session of the Parliament which will culminate on December 13.

Abdullah has been in detention in Kashmir since August 5 when the Central government abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state.

The Congress leader also demanded the release of senior party leader P. Chidambaram, who is currently in Tihar jail in INX Media case.

The treasury bench raised objection when Chowdhury used a derogatory term for members of the European Union to which Speaker Om Birla assured to examine and expunge the remark.

“Our leader Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to visit the Valley, but European leaders were given permission. Kashmir is an internal issue, but this government has made it an international issue,” Chowdhury said.

Terming Centre’s move an “atrocity” not to allow Abdullah to attend Lok Sabha proceedings, the Congress leader accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of lying on the whereabouts of Abdullah in monsoon session of Parliament.

“Four important leaders – Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Home Minister and External Affairs Minister – are not present in the House. Home Minister Amit Shah had assured us in August that Abdullah was not in detention, but 108 days later he is still not here. What is the reason?”, he asked.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla interrupted, saying “when Home Minister Amit Shah had informed the House in the previous session that Abdullah was not under detention, he was correct. The written information of his detention was received later by the Lok Sabha secretariat.”

The Congress along with National Conference, Nationalist Congress Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Dravida Munetra Kazhgam had raised the issue to release Abdullah during the Question Hour and also trooped near Speaker’s podium, sloganeering “stop dividing the country”.

Chowdhury also raised the issue of withdrawal of Special Protection Group cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Gandhi family and reminded how late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee remained under SPG protection during UPA rule.

/IANS

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