Srinagar: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and 11 other opposition leaders who had landed at Srinagar earlier on Saturday (August 24) were sent back to New Delhi. The opposition leaders were on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir to see the condition of the union territories after the abrogation of Article 370.

Parts of Jammu and Kashmir were in a lockdown after the Centre withdrew its special status and divided it into two union territories earlier this month.

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration had on Friday asked the leaders not to visit the state as it said they would be “putting other people to inconvenience”. The state’s Department of Information and Public Relations said that they would also end up violating restrictions imposed in several areas. “Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives,” it said in a statement.

Among the parties that were part of the opposition's all-party delegation that landed at Srinagar were Congress, CPI(M), CPI, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress and the DMK.

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Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Manoj Jha and Dinesh Trivedi from the Trinamool Congress were part of the delegation, sources said.

Rahul Gandhi landed in Kashmir valley just weeks after Governor Satya Pal Malik had invited him - on a plane to be sent by the Centre - to see the situation on ground. 

On August 11, Malik invited Rahul Gandhi to the valley and said, "I have invited Rahul Gandhi to come here. I will send you a plane, to observe (the situation) and then speak up. You are a responsible person and you should not speak like this.”

Gandhi accepted the invitation after two days. He and his team of opposition leaders were sent back to New Delhi following the news of the demise of Arun Jaitley.