Parties free to engage in political activity: LG

File Photo of J&K LG Manoj Sinha

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday said that political parties in Jammu and Kashmir were free to engage in any political activity.

In an interview to The Hindu on his three-months tenure at the helm of affairs in J&K, LG Sinha said, “Our country is a free country and people are free to engage in political activity, which these leaders are doing and the country is also watching and listening.”

Acknowledging that some leaders of political parties were not free after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, he said, “There is a system of assessment under Principal Secretary, Home, which reviews the matter and, as of now, I don’t think any major political leader is under detention.”

Playing down the assertions that following the repeal of Article 370, there had hardly been any political engagement in Jammu Kashmir, he said: “My priority, as far as I see, is the development of J&K, engaging the youth, and creating an environment for prosperity. Political parties, on their part, are free to engage in political activity, there is no proscription. It is up to them as to which direction they take. Much of it is unfortunate and we have to see how we can change that.”

Referring to the statement of three time chief minister and Member of Parliament, Farooq Abdullah, seeking Chinese help to restore Article 370, he said, “It is only in India that there is full freedom to say what you feel.”