Taking a dig at the Jammu and Kashmir administration for not allowing him to visit Srinagar, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Saturday said he has seen "such hospitality for the first time".
Sharma was part of the delegation of Opposition leaders who went to Srinagar to see the ground reality after the repeal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir but were not allowed to go outside the airport and were subsequently sent back to the national capital.
"I have seen such hospitality for the first time -- first invite, then detain," Sharma said here upon his return from the Valley.
The Congress leader said that the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir were a "big challenge for Indian democracy."
"People are in pain. No one knows what is happening there," he said.
He said the situation was "bad on the ground" but the government was projecting as if everything is normal there. "Such things should not happen in India. Political leaders should be released from house arrest," he demanded.
"There was no reason to stop us. We are responsible leaders and we had gone there on (the government's) invitation," he said.
The delegation comprised senior leaders from Opposition parties including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav, Manoj Jha, Majeed Memon, Tiruchi Shiva and D Raja.
( With inputs from ANI )