Indian Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), admitted on Tuesday that the situation in the occupied valley is "very bad".
Azad's visit became possible after the Indian Supreme Court on September 16 allowed him to tour the besieged region.
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When asked by reporters about his assessment of the situation in IOK, Azad replied, "It is very bad ... There is no mark of freedom of speech in [occupied] Kashmir."
On August 5, India revoked occupied Kashmir's autonomy, dividing the disputed territory into two regions to be controlled by New Delhi.
Additional troops were flown into the disputed valley before the surprise move. In the weeks since the illegal lockdown and communications blackout, hundreds of Kashmiri politicians and activists have been detained or put under house arrest.
Ghulam Nabi Azad(INC), opposition leader in Rajya Sabha who recently visited Indian Occupied #Kashmir after getting permission from the Indian Supreme Court- he says the situation is very bad - now 50 days under curfew it’s worse #KashmirBleeds #KashmirIsUnder_Curfew pic.twitter.com/VvzS5r8JHp
— Lord Nazir Ahmed (@nazir_lord) September 25, 2019
Thousands of Kashmiri men - including minors - have been arrested in the name of maintaining order during nocturnal raids by Indian occupying forces.
"I do not have to say anything to media right now. I spent four days in Kashmir and arrived here to spend two more days in Jammu. After the end of the six-day tour, I will say whatever I have to say," he told reporters.
In response to another question about submitting his assessment report to the Indian Supreme Court, Azad said a decision about this would be taken after his return to New Delhi.
"I was not even allowed by the administration to visit 10 per cent of the places where I had planned to go in the valley during my stay there," he said.
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Earlier, three bids of the Congress leader to reach Srinagar had failed when he was turned back from the airport by the authorities.
This story originally appeared on India Today.
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