Srinagar: Before being sent back, Rahul negotiated with airport officials
With a motive to assess the situation in the Valley, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi landed in Srinagar on Saturday, along with several other Opposition leaders. The delegation, however, wasn't allowed to leave the premises and sent back to Delhi. And now a video has emerged in which Rahul can be seen negotiating with officials, asking them to let him exit the airport.
In the clip, shared by official Twitter handle of Congress, Rahul can be heard telling personnel that he was "invited". Rahul was referring to Governor Satya Pal Malik's statement wherein he asked the Gandhi scion to "visit" the state rather than spreading a false narrative. Notably, Jammu and Kashmir was put under strict vigil before Centre annulled Article 370 earlier this month.
"The Governor has said that I am invited. Toh ab main aaya hoon. Phir aap keh rahein hai ki main nahi aa sakte hain (So I have now come here and you are telling that I cannot come)," Rahul can be heard saying.
Rahul also asked the security officials that if everything was fine, why weren't they allowed to step out. They, here, referred to 11 Opposition leaders who accompanied Rahul. These included Left's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, RJD's Manoj Jha, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, and Trinamool's Dinesh Trivedi. Many of them surrounded Rahul as he attempted to strike a deal with the security officials.
During the "negotiation", Rahul said, "We want to go to any area that is peaceful and meet 10 to 15 people. We don't want to do anything more. If it's 144 ( Section 144), then I am ready to go individually...we will go individually."
The govt is saying everything is okay here everything is normal. If everything is normal why are we not allowed out?: Shri @RahulGandhi— Congress (@INCIndia) August 24, 2019
Was it not Governor Satya Pal Malik that invited Mr. Gandhi to come to JK and assess the situation for himself? #RahulGandhiWithJnK pic.twitter.com/jneIkpOJve
After returning to the National Capital, Rahul charged at BJP-led Centre saying the situation in the border state wasn't "normal". He said he wanted to get a sense of on-ground situation but unfortunately, he was stopped from doing so. "The press people with us were mishandled, beaten. It's clear that things are not normal in Jammu and Kashmir," Rahul went on.
Meanwhile, Malik termed Rahul's visit "political". "I had invited him out of goodwill but he started doing politics. It (their visit) was nothing but a political action by these people. Parties should keep in mind the national interest at these times," Malik said. Separately, the J&K Information and Public Relations Department revealed politicians' visit will cause inconvenience to people.
They would also be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas. Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives.— DIPR-JK (@diprjk) August 23, 2019