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Indian opposition leaders sent back from Srinagar

SRINAGAR: A delegation of India’s main opposition politicians, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, was sent back from Srinagar to New Delhi on Saturday.

Gandhi and others had flown in to the disputed region to observe the situation on the ground.

India’s main opposition politicians, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, had reached Srinagar, despite appeals by the government not to visit the tense region.

The political parties forming the opposition’s delegation were the Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

It is to be mentioned here that the Indian government has revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

A presidential decree was issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India had sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

The move worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which said it would downgrade its diplomatic relations with India.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for three decades.