Anupam Kher: I was not allowed to enter my home state
Anupam Kher was detained at Srinagar airport and denied entry into Kashmir yesterday. He speaks of the ordeal
Anupam Kher had flown to Srinagar from Delhi in a bid to visit the students of the National Institute of Technology to offer moral support to them after they were 'beaten up' by the local cops. Last week, a clash between the students and the cops had resulted in the students alleging that they were brutalised by the cops.
Kher, however, was not even allowed to step outside the airport. He says, "I was going there as a citizen, and not necessarily as a politician. This is a situation (of students being brutalised) which affects me as a citizen. There was lathi charge. The situation could have been handled better. I wanted to meet the students to express my solidarity with them."
However, after reaching Srinagar airport at 10.15 am, Kher was stopped from stepping out. He says, "They said they were not allowing anyone to enter the campus. I offered to meet just two or three representatives in the police headquarters, but they refused to allow that. They didn't even permit me to visit my cousins. It is my home state," he says with disappointment.
"My immediate reaction was anger, but I know that the easiest thing is to express anger. It's a delicate situation. Being the optimist that I am, I feel things will change some day. I stayed put in the airport because I didn't want to leave until I saw the orders from the magistrate forbidding me to enter.
The cops behaved decently. Being in Kashmir, it is not easy for the cops. They have to deal with terrorists and anti-social elements. I do understand their frustration and trauma. But not allowing me to enter my own home state is hugely disappointing. It is ridiculous. I am not a professional demonstrator," he said.
Kher then took the 2.50 pm flight back to Delhi from Srinagar.