Azad: Ministers' visit to Valley govt's third bid to spread 'lies' on JK situation

Jammu, Jan 16 (PTI) Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said that by arranging visits of Union ministers to Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has made a 'third bid to spread lies' about situation there post abrogation of its special status. Azad, who is here on a two-day visit along with his party colleague Ambika Soni, said the Central ministers are coming to the Union Territory to celebrate Jammu and Kashmir's 'destruction'.

'This is a third attempt to mislead and misguide people of the world, J&K and India. They are coming here for a third time to tell lies,' Azad told reporters here.

His comments come a day after sources in Delhi said a group of central ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir starting from January 18 including sensitive areas in the Valley to spread awareness about the positive impact of abrogation of Article 370 provisions and the development measures taken by the government for the region.

Azad criticised the move. 'Till today, they don't know how to run the government. They have bitterly failed.' He said that in the past, the government twice 'misled and deceived' the people of the country and the world by conducting 'guided tours' of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and foreign envoys.

In order to influence the international media reportage on the 'destruction' and situation in Kashmir, the government conducted tours of MEPs and then envoys to propagate their version of the story to the world, the Rajya Sabha member said.

On January 9, a team of 15 envoys including the US Ambassador to India went on a two-day government-sponsored visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

Before that, a Delhi-based think tank had taken 23 EU MPs on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the union territory. The government had distanced itself from the MEP visit.

Azad said on Thursday that by dividing JK into two union territories, keeping politicians under house arrest, 'destroying' trade, industry, tourism, business and transport, and banning political activities of opposition, the government has destroyed J&K. 'The chapter of destruction of J&K started with formations of UT,' he said.

He said that the political leaders from Kashmir who were called to New Delhi one by one and 'tutored', were presented before the envoys, but civil society, media and traders were disallowed to meet them and the previous delegation.

On speculations of formation of a third front in Jammu and Kashmir, he said they are handed-picked by Centre and its agencies and 'tutored' to toe their line.

He also demanded a fair probe into the case of suspended JK Deputy SP Davinder Singh who has been arrested for sheltering and assisting terrorists. PTI AB TIR