Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Sept 19: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will arrive in Srinagar on Friday in his maiden visit following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status and after three failed attempts in which he was turned back from the airport. According to the initial program, Azad will arrive at the Srinagar airport in the afternoon and will meet "daily-wage labourers" in Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla during his four-day trip, officials said.
The visit became possible after a nod from the Supreme Court, which allowed the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha to visit the state. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had on Monday allowed the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to visit four districts -- Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla, Anantnag -- to meet people. The bench was told by senior advocate A M Singhvi, who was appearing for Azad, that the Congress leader wants to meet the people and inquire about their welfare.
In his petition filed in "personal capacity", Azad had told the Supreme Court that he had tried to visit the state thrice, but was turned back from the airport. Terming his visit "apolitical" in his plea, Azad has also sought a nod from the top court to visit his family members and relatives.
In his petition, Azad has also sought permission to check on social conditions after a clampdown was imposed by the authorities following the scrapping of provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to the state.