‘Need freedom to travel, meet people, not aircraft’: Rahul Gandhi to J&K Guv

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday responded to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik’s invitation to visit Jammu and Kashmir and to ‘observe’ the situation before commenting. He even offered to send down a plane for Rahul Gandhi to fly up to the state. The Congress leader tweeted he would take him up on the “gracious invitation”, along with a delegation of opposition leaders.

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,” replied the former Congress president.

On Monday, August 12, Governor Malik had declared the offer to Rahul Gandhi to spite Rahul Gandhi’s comment that there had been violence in Jammu and Kashmir in protest against the government’s move to end special status and split the state into two union territories.

Last week, Gandhi had said reports surfaced of violence and people being killed in Jammu and Kashmir and called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to transparently tell the country about the situation and assuage people.

“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,” Satya Pal Malik said.

Malik, defending the centre’s decisions, said there was “no communal angle” to the move to the abrogation of Article 370. “The scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A was for everyone. There is no communal angle (for scrapping it) in Leh, Kargil, Jammu, Rajouri-Poonch and not here either (Kashmir valley). There is no communal angle to it,” he had said earlier.

“The foreign press has made an attempt 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 and there were no serious injuries to anyone,” he was reported saying by NDTV.

Replying to a question about allegations that Kashmir valley has been turned into a “concentration camp”, the Governor said people don’t know the meaning of a concentration camp.

“I know what it is. I have gone to jail 30 times. Even then, I will not term it as a concentration camp. They (Congress) imprisoned people for one-and-half-years during Emergency, but nobody termed them concentration camps. Is preventative arrest (equal to) a concentration camp?” he said.

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