Riyaz Ul Khaliq
Right wing actor Anupam Kher finally flew back home at around 3:30 pm on Sunday after J&K government disallowed him from coming out of Srinagar airport. He was accompanied by another activist Ashok Pandit and a journalist who stayed back.
Before flying home, Kher pulled out a tricolour out of his pocket, opened it and the “event” in the lounge was recorded by his colleague Ashok Pandit.
A top police officer said the two Bollywood men, who have been actively working for the right-wing party, were accompanied by Kher’s assistant and a TV journalist. Unlike the trio, the journalist was not stopped.
“Kher wanted to go to the NIT and we said it was impossible because we cannot permit vitiating the atmosphere,” a police officer who talked to the actor said. Then, he wanted to have a visit to Khir Bhawani and even see his ancestral home. But his requests were not acceded to.
In his interaction with the police officers, Kher said he was concerned over the security of the outstation NIT students who are facing “threat”. He wrote on his Twitter: “Landed in Srinagar. ‘HOME’ away from home. Will go to #NITSrinagar & meet the students & give them a warm hug and a special gift.:)”
Out of the aircraft, the police escorted him to the secured lounge where he was asked that he cannot enter Srinagar. “I have been told by J&K police that I cannot enter Srinagar at all. I have asked them to show me the orders. Still at the airport,” he tweeted.
Later, two senior police officers talked to him. “When you have 65% of 2700 students in NIT who are not local, how do you say they are insecure?” one officer asked him. “The faculty is 70% local but the non-local teachers do not claim any insecurity.”
The police officer asked him what would be the costs of his interaction with the NIT students for tens of thousands of Kashmiri students who do study outside. They had tea together. Later, he was sent home.
Before his take off from Srinagar, his colleague clicked the photograph. The same picture, Kher shared on his Twitter page later. “Then he rolled the tricolour and kept in his pocket,” one officer said. “As I return from Srinagar airport, my heart is heavy but I have hope that things will change & become better. I remain an #EternalOptimist,” he later wrote on Twitter. “My view of Kashmir was clouded today but I am sure these clouds will clear one day. There ‘will’ be sunlight:) #Optimism.”
Kher was apparently supposed to join the “NIT Chalo Yatra” that BJP launched from Delhi. However, Kher was perhaps unaware that the bus carrying the Yatris from Delhi was stopped at Lakhanpur late last night and sent back.