- There was violence in J&K against scrapping of Article 370: Rahul Gandhi
- There was "no communal angle" to the move: Satya Pal Malik
- Will send you a plane, to observe (the situation): Mr Malik to Mr Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi today responded to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik's invitation to him to visit Jammu and Kashmir and "observe" before speaking about violence in the state. The Congress leader tweeted he would take him up on the "gracious invitation", along with a delegation of opposition leaders.
The Governor had offered to send Rahul Gandhi a plane to take him to the Kashmir Valley.
"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," replied the former Congress president.
On Monday, Mr Malik had put out the offer in an angry response to Rahul Gandhi's comment that there had been violence in Jammu and Kashmir in protest against the government'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," Satya Pal Malik said.
The Governor, defending the centre's decisions, said there was "no communal angle" to the move. "The scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A was for everyone. There is no communal angle (for scrapping it) in Leh, Kargil, Jammu, Rajouri-Poonch and not here either (Kashmir valley). There is no communal angle to it," he said.
"The foreign press has made an attempt and we have warned them. All hospitals are open for you and if even a single person has been hit by a bullet, prove it. But only four people were hit by pellets in legs when there was violence and there were no serious injuries to anyone," he said.
Replying to a question about allegations that Kashmir valley has been turned into a "concentration camp", the Governor said people don't know the meaning of a concentration camp.
"I know what it is. I have gone to jail 30 times. Even then, I will not term it as a concentration camp. They (Congress) imprisoned people for one-and-half-years during Emergency, but nobody termed them concentration camps. Is preventative arrest (equal to) a concentration camp?" he said.
Another Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, said to the Governor's invite: "Why only @RahulGandhi, Governor Sahib? On behalf of Congress, I had asked in Lok Sabha for an all-party delegation to be invited to J&K to see the #Kashmir situation for ourselves! Do arrange such a trip instead of grandstanding."