New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, who were sent back to Delhi soon after they landed at the Srinagar airport on Saturday, were negotiated with officials, trying to convince them to leave the airport to take stock of the situation in the valley.
A video shared by the Congress on social media shows Mr Gandhi, the former Congress president, unsuccessfully trying to convince authorities that he reached there after he was invited by Governor Satya Pal Malik to witness that normalcy was restored after weeks of restrictions over the government’s decision to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two territories.
“The thing is, the government has invited me. 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.) And the government is saying that everything is okay here, everything is normal. If everything is normal, why are we not allowed out? It’s a bit surprising,” Mr Gandhi can be seen telling a police officer and another officer.
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
Apart from Rahul Gandhi,11 opposition leaders including Sitaram Yechury of the Left, CPI’s D Raja, the DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha and Dinesh Trivedi from the Trinamool Congress were part of the delegation.
Many of them were seen surrounding Mr Gandhi as he spoke to the officials in what appeared to be the airport lounge.
“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,” Mr Gandhi says.’
“Yeah, yeah, everybody will go…,” Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress chips in.
Opposition leaders, who had flown to take stock of the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, alleged that they were detained at the airport in Srinagar in an ”unconstitutional” and ”undemocratic” manner.
After returning to Delhi, Mr Gandhi said the administration’s move to turned them back proved the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir was “not normal”. Governor Malik said Mr Gandhi’s visit was political.