- Governor had offered to send Rahul Gandhi a plane to take him to J&K
- Rahul Gandhi said he needs "freedom to travel and meet the people"
- "So many pre-conditions," J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik had said
In their back-and-forth over Jammu and Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi today delivered a new retort to Governor Satya Pal Malik, who had "withdrawn" his invitation to him to visit and "observe" before speaking about violence in the state. Too many "pre-conditions," Governor Malik said last night after the Congress leader said he would come with an opposition delegation and would like to be able to travel freely.
In his post this morning, the former Congress chief - unlike his previous tweet -- spelt Mr Malik's name as "Maalik", the Hindi word for "master".
"Dear Maalik ji, I saw your feeble reply to my tweet. I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come?" Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning.
Dear Maalik ji,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 14, 2019
I saw your feeble reply to my tweet.
I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached.
When can I come?
The sparring started with the Governor taking exception to Rahul Gandhi's comments alleging violent protests in Kashmir against the centre's move to end special status and split the state into two union territories.
"I have invited Rahul Gandhi to come here. I will send you a plane, to observe (the situation) and then speak up. You are a responsible person and you should not speak like this," Mr Malik said on Monday.
Rahul Gandhi, responding to the "invite" on Twitter, wrote: "We won't need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there."
Dear Governor Malik,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 13, 2019
A delegation of opposition leaders & I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh.
We won't need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel & meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there. https://t.co/9VjQUmgu8u
The saga continued later last night as the governor accused the Congress leader of trying to "create unrest" by seeking to bring a delegation of opposition leaders and asking to meet with leaders under custody.
Former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are among scores of politicians in custody since last week in the government's attempts to avoid any protests in Jammu and Kashmir over its radical decisions.
"Rahul Gandhi is politicising the matter by seeking to bring a delegation of opposition leaders to create further unrest and problems for the common people. He has put forth many conditions for visiting J&K, including meeting mainstream leaders under detention," Mr Malik's office said in a statement.
Since the Governor "had never invited him with so many pre-conditions, he has referred the case to the local police and administration to examine the request further," the statement said.
On the Congress leader's comments on violence in Kashmir, Mr Malik said, "Rahul Gandhi is responding to fake news possibly spread from across the border about the situation in Kashmir, which is peaceful with negligible incidents."