Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to examine if they can accept Rahul Gandhi’s request received via Twitter to visit the state. But Malik’s office also has made it clear that it believed the former Congress president had imposed too many conditions.
Rahul Gandhi had surprised Raj Bhavan Tuesday afternoon when he took up Governor Malik on his invitation to visit the state to see the ground situation for himself.
The invite was a dart that Satya Pal Malik had hurled at Rahul Gandhi for claiming on Saturday that there had been violence in J&K and “things were going very wrong”. Malik told reporters that he could send an aircraft to bring Rahul Gandhi to Jammu and Kashmir so that he could observe the situation and then speak.
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Gandhi tweeted his response to the governor on Tuesday, accepting what he described as a “gracious invitation” to visit J&K and Ladakh. The former Congress boss said he and other opposition leaders wouldn’t need an aircraft but “the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers”.
Gandhi’s wish-list was a counter-attack too, considering that the government had turned back opposition leaders from national parties who had landed at Srinagar airport over the last few days. It was also an opportunity to highlight a demand first made by the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, on Saturday when it demanded that a delegation of opposition parties be permitted to visit Jammu and Kashmir.
Raj Bhavan responded several hours later, accusing Gandhi of “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,” the Governor’s office said in a statement. Scores of separatists and leaders of mainstream political parties have been under detention including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
“As Hon’ble Governor had never invited him with so many pre-conditions, he has referred the case to the local Police and administration to examine the request further,” Raj Bhavan’s statement said.
It also accused Rahul Gandhi of responding to fake news about violence 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 the correct position in the Kashmir Valley. He can also check the detailed submissions made by the Government in the Supreme Court today which heard a case on this matter and left it to Government,” Satya Pal Malik’s office said.
First Published: Aug 13, 2019 21:46 IST