HR Activist Denied Entry Into Kashmir

Srinagar, May 28: Police Saturday detained New-Delhi based human rights activist and writer Gautam Navlakha at Srinagar airport.

Navlakha, who arrived from Indian capital this afternoon, was detained at the Srinagar Airport and ordered to return.

“As I was to leave the Srinagar airport, some police officials detained me. They told me that I cannot move out of the airport as they feared that I can create a law and order problem,” Navlakha said over the phone.

He said the police officials showed him a letter. “It read that under section 144, I can’t enter the Budgam district as well as rest of Kashmir to avoid any possible trouble during my visit.”

“The officials forced me to purchase the return tickets for tomorrow as there were no remaining flights out of Srinagar today,” Gautam said.

“We have booked tickets for tomorrow to return to Delhi and will stay in some corner at the airport only for the night,” said Gautam’s friend, Sehba Hussain, who was also accompanying him.

Gautam said he was on a trekking trip to Kashmir. “I was scheduled to visit north Kashmir on Sunday to climb the mountain peaks,” he said.

Terming the government move as unfortunate, he said, “How could have my visit instigate trouble in the Valley?”

“It is outrageous. They are not willing to listen to reason. This shows the level of control they exercise on people,” he said.

A police spokesman said the restrictions over the movement of Gautam were imposed to avoid the breach of public peace and tranquility.

“District Magistrate restricted his movement in view of the apprehensions of any breach of public peace and tranquility under section 144 of the criminal procedure code (CRPC),” he said.