Hours after Rahul Gandhi accepted Satya Pal Malik’s ‘invitation’ to visit Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor Tuesday accused the former of politicising the matter and said the Congress leader has put forth many conditions for visiting the region, including meeting mainstream leaders under detention.
“Rahul Gandhi is politicizing the matter by seeking to bring a delegation of opposition leaders to create further unrest and problems for the common people. He has put forth many conditions for visiting J&K, including meeting mainstream leaders under detention,” said a statement from the J&K Governor’s office.
The statement further said the Governor had never invited Gandhi with “so many pre-conditions” and that he has referred the case to the local Police and administration to examine the request further.
The J&K Governor’s office issued the statement after Gandhi said he and other opposition leaders would visit Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under a security lockdown ever since the Centre revoked the special status enjoyed by the state under Article 370 and carved it into two union territories.
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 & meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there. https://t.co/9VjQUmgu8u
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 13, 2019
Gandhi also urged Malik to allow them the freedom to meet people, and soldiers. “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 & meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there,” he tweeted.
The Congress leader’s remark also comes against the backdrop of the J&K administration sending back several opposition leaders from the Srinagar airport, including the Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and prominent Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja.
On Monday, Governor Malik had invited Gandhi to visit Jammu and Kashmir, saying he would send an aircraft for him, after the Congress leader said, “People were dying in the state and the situation was not normal as claimed by the government.” “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 had said.
In the statement today, Governor Malik claimed that “Gandhi was responding to fake news possibly spread from across the border about the situation in Kashmir, which is peaceful with negligible incidents. He can check for himself from various Indian channels which have reported correct position in the valley.”