Rahul does a ‘chai pe charcha’ in Kashmir’s stone-pelting hub

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Aug 29, 2015 13:20 IST

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, whose two-day visit to the state concluded on Friday, took everybody by surprise when he stopped for tea at Maisuma, a stone-pelting hub and bastion of separatist leader Yasin Malik.

State Congress president GA Mir told media that Gandhi was on his way to the airport when he “suddenly decided” to stop for a quick tea at the locality, referred to as “Gaza strip” by the local youth for the almost-every-week clashes between protesters and the police. Mir said Gandhi ignored pleas from his security officials, walked up to a vendor, and sat among residents as he finished his food. “He (Rahul) had tea, pakoras (snacks) and bakirkhani (local bread). He also packed nadermonje (local fried snack made of lotus stem),” Mir added.

Mir said Gandhi felt “very happy” after visiting Maisuma as many people walked up to him to talk or just shake hands.

A day after meeting flood victims and farmers, Gandhi spent a large part of the day on Friday visiting shrines, particularly the Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal and the Hazratbal shrine on the banks of Dal Lake.

Mir said Gandhi also wanted to visit the shrine of Makhdoom Sahib atop the Hariparbat hillock in Srinagar’s old city but was not given security clearance.

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