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Sainiks stopped from visiting Srinagar: J&K Shiv Sena chief

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Says ‘BJP's slogan of Naya Kashmir hollow; nothing has changed in past two years post abrogation’

Jammu: Jammu & Kashmir Shiv Sena chief Manish Sahni on Tuesday claimed the BJP used official machinery to stop him and his party workers from visiting Srinagar as it does not want the Sena to spread its base in Kashmir.

He termed the BJP’s slogan of ‘naya (new) Kashmir’ hollow as “nothing has changed over the past two years post abrogation of Article 370 there”.

“It is our political and democratic right to visit anywhere to propagate our party’s ideology. We were on our way to Srinagar on Monday when we were stopped at Udhampur and forced to return to Jammu,” Sahni told reporters here.

He said the Shiv Sena welcomed the August 2019 development when the Centre announced abrogation of Article 370 with a hope that this will bring a positive change in the Valley.

“What has changed in BJP’s Naya Kashmir? We were not allowed to visit Kashmir by the previous governments and the same thing is happening now,” he said.

He said they were provided escort by police when they left Jammu for Srinagar where a large number of people were scheduled to join the party.

“BJP does not want Shiv Sena to spread its base in Kashmir and so used official machinery to scuttle our visit,” he alleged.

Sahni said the BJP and the Lt Governor administration led by Manoj Sinha have been making claims about the improved security situation in the Valley and talking about the restoration of the democratic process.

“The BJP’s Naya Kashmir slogan is hollow. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is making frequent anti-national remarks and People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is propagating restoration of special status freely but the nationalists like Shiv Sena are denied political space,” he said.

He demanded action against Mehbooba and the arrest of Hurriyat Conference leaders for their involvement in separatist activities.

Addressing her party workers on Saturday, Mehbooba had asked the Centre to take a lesson out of Afghanistan where the Taliban seized power and made the US flee, and urged the government to hold dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and return its special status which was revoked in 2019.

Referring to the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, the former chief minister warned the Centre “to not test us” and asked it to “mend its ways, understand the situation, and see what is happening in your neighbourhood”.

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