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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

‘Dear Maalik ji…’: Rahul Gandhi’s tweet reply to J&K Guv has a request and more

A statement from Governor Satya Pal Malik’s office on Tuesday evening accused Rahul Gandhi of politicising the Kashmir situation and blamed the Congress of imposing too many “pre-conditions”.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2019 17:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
On Wednesday,
On Wednesday, (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
         

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday delivered a stinging retort to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik over the ongoing back-and-forth between them over the situation in the Kashmir Valley.

Rahul Gandhi had yesterday accepted Governor Malik’s public invitation to have him over in the state so that the former Congress president could be better informed about the ground situation in the Kashmir valley. Malik attempted to rub it in, offering to send a plane to travel to Kashmir.

Malik’s invite was meant as a barb but Gandhi nevertheless took him up on the offer.

But instead of the plane that Governor Malik had offered, Gandhi asked that he and a group of opposition leaders be given the “freedom” to travel freely and meet people, political leaders and soldiers.

WATCH| ‘Rahul Gandhi doesn’t require any hospitality’: Cong on Guv Malik’s offer

Malik didn’t respond to this but a statement from Raj Bhawan on Tuesday evening accused Gandhi of politicising the incident and indicated the open offer to travel was off the table because the Congress leader had imposed too many pre-conditions.

The Raj Bhavan statement said Malik had forwarded Gandhi’s request to the state administration to see if it was possible to accept these “conditions”.

On Wednesday, Gandhi attempted to breathe life into the scrapped invite, saying he was willing to withdraw the “conditions”.

“I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come?” he said, addressing the governor “Maalik ji”, or master, instead of “Malik”.

The Congress has fronted the opposition to demand that political leaders from outside Jammu and Kashmir be allowed to travel to the Kashmir valley. Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of opposition was the first to attempt travelling to the valley after Parliament scrapped Article 370 of the constitution that accorded special status to the state. A second law, also cleared by Parliament, carved the state into two union territories; one for Ladakh and a second for Jammu and Kashmir regions.

Discontent has simmered in Kashmir since the early hours of August 5, when phone and Internet lines were suspended and restrictions placed on movement and assembly of people.

Around the same time that Rahul Gandhi tweeted to the governor on Wednesday, a top police officer in Kashmir announced that the authorities had completely lifted the restrictions on movement of people in Jammu but these would continue in the Kashmir region for some more time.

Nearly 500 political activists and leaders of mainstream political parties including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been under detention for nearly a week.

A petition against the restriction on movement of people and political leaders was taken by the Supreme Court but the judges ruled that they were not inclined to intervene at this stage.

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 11:50 IST

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