Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was sent back from the Srinagar airport along with other opposition leaders on Saturday, said that the move by the state administration proved the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir was "not normal". Mr Gandhi said he was invited by Governor Satya Pal Malik to visit the state to witness that normalcy was restored after weeks of restrictions over the centre's decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the state's bifurcation.
"Some days ago, I was invited by the Governor to visit Jammu and Kashmir. So I accepted the invitation. The Governor had suggested that everything was normal and that he would send me a plane to visit the state. I told him -- I don't need your plane but I will accept your invitation and I would come to Jammu and Kashmir," Mr Gandhi said.
"We wanted to get a sense of what people are going through and help the situation if we could. But unfortunately we were not allowed to go beyond the airport. The press people with us were mishandled, beaten. It's clear that things are not normal in Jammu and Kashmir," Mr Gandhi added.
Governor Malik said Mr Gandhi's visit was 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," Governor Malik was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
The Jammu And Kashmir Information and Public Relations Department on Friday tweeted political leaders should not "not visit Srinagar as they would be putting other people to inconvenience" at a "time when the government is trying to protect the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the threat of cross border terrorism and attacks..."
Mr Gandhi and 11 leaders accompanying him have written a letter to the district administration, saying its apprehensions over their visit were baseless.
At a time when the government is trying to protect the people of Jammu & Kashmir from the threat of cross border terrorism and attacks by militants and separatists and gradually trying to restore public order by controlling miscreants and mischief mongers, (1/3)— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) August 23, 2019
"We are responsible political leaders and elected representatives and our intentions are entirely peaceful and humanitarian," the letter read.
Among the parties that were part of the opposition's all-party delegation that landed at Srinagar were Congress, CPI(M), CPI, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress and the DMK.
If the situation in Jammu & Kashmir is "normal" as the govt claims, why has the delegation of Opposition leaders led by Shri @RahulGandhi been sent back from Srinagar airport?— Congress (@INCIndia) August 24, 2019
What is the Modi govt trying to hide? #RahulGandhiWithJnK
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Manoj Jha and Dinesh Trivedi from the Trinamool Congress were part of the delegation.
Some 400 politicians, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, are under arrest. The restrictions are still in place at several areas in the state.
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