The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Communist leader Sitaram Yechury and a Kashmiri law student in Delhi to travel to the Valley, which has been under a security lockdown since August 5 when Article 370 was scrapped in the state, under police protection and asked the two to submit a report on their return.
The top court order came while hearing a bunch of petitions – some against the scrapping of Article 370 in Kashmir, others against the arrest of leaders, restrictions on movement and ‘suspension of civil liberty’.
Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury had filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Kashmiri politician and the party’s general secretary Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. Allowing Yechury to travel to the Valley to meet his friend and party worker and to ascertain his whereabouts, the court said: “If Yechury is found to be indulging in any other act, it would be construed to be a violation of this court’s order.”
Yechury’s lawyer assured the court that his client would abide by the order even as the top court directed Jammu and Kashmir administration to help the CPI-M leader find his colleague. The Left leader was asked to file a report on his return.
Another petitioner Aleem Syed Mohammed, a law graduate in Delhi’s Jamia Millia, had also filed a plea seeking information about his family in Kashmir, was allowed to travel to Anantnag under police protection, if required, to meet his parents. The top court also asked him to come back and report.
Among other petitioners is Tehseen Poonawalla, a social activist, who has raised the issue of lockdown in the region as amounting to suspension of Article 19 (freedom of speech) and 21 (personal liberty) of the Constitution.
Another petitioner is National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, who has cited ‘Swaraj’ or self-governance. Lone has said the right to autonomous self-government within a federal framework is an essential fundamental right. These valuable rights have been taken away without the “procedure established by law” in a manner that violates every canon of constitutional morality. All top National Conference leaders are under detention since August 5 as are the Congress and PDP leaders.
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