Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday hit back at Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and said that he, along with a delegation of opposition leaders, will take up his ‘gracious invitation’ of flying to the state that is currently under a lockdown, to take stock of the situation provided they are given the freedom to do so.
Malik, on Monday, took a jibe at the Congress leader for his remarks that there have been reports of violence in Kashmir, saying he will send him an aircraft to visit the Valley and observe the ground situation. “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,” Malik said.
Returning fire, Gandhi in a tweet said, “Dear Governor Malik, A delegation of opposition leaders & I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh. We won’t need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there.”
An unprecedented security lockdown is keeping people in Kashmir indoors for a ninth day Tuesday after the government announced it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood. The prominent political leadership of the state, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah continue to be under detention, while all lines of communication remain suspended.
New Delhi rushed tens of thousands of additional soldiers to the Valley to prevent unrest and protests after the controversial decision was taken, a move which Prime Minister Modi said, was necessary to free the region of “terrorism and separatism.”
On Saturday night, Gandhi said that some reports had come in from Jammu and Kashmir about the violence there and Modi must assuage concerns over the matter in a transparent manner.
The governor said there was no communal angle in scrapping provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The governor said Gandhi should feel ashamed about the behaviour of one of his leaders, who was talking like an “idiot” in the Parliament.
“Scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35-A was for everyone. There is no communal angle (for scrapping it) in Leh, Kargil, Jammu, Rajouri-Poonch and not here either (Kashmir). There is no communal angle to it,” he said.
Malik said that the issue was being fanned by some people but they were not successful in it.
“Foreign press has made an attempt (of wrong reportage) and we have warned them. All hospitals are open for you and if even a single person has been hit by a bullet, prove it. But only four people were hit by pellets in legs when there was violence by youths and there were no serious injuries to anyone,” he said.