Stating that Jammu and Kashmir was “under direct assault” from New Delhi, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the Government of India (GoI) should restore full statehood to J&K and conduct elections in the union territory in a free and fair manner.
Rahul, who arrived in Kashmir on a two-day visit, also said that he was fighting against Prime Minister Narendera Modi and his policies of “dividing India”, news agency KNO reported.
“I will continue my fight till I win,” Gandhi said while addressing a gathering at J&K Congress headquarters at Moulana Azad Road here.
Rahul said the “assault” was not only on J&K but other parts of India like Tamil Nadu, Bengal and other states too.
“But one thing is clear, that J&K is under direct assault from New Delhi, while other parts are facing an indirect attack,” he said.
He said the Congress party has a “clear stand” for J&K. “Statehood should be restored in full and there should be assembly polls in a free, fair and transparent manner,” he said.
“During the Congress rule in J&K, major schemes like Udaan were launched and Panchayat polls were held. We brought experts to Kashmir University and sent Kashmiri youth to other states of India. But they (BJP) attacked this process too,” he said.
Rahul said that he can feel the pain of the people of J&K. “My message to you is that I am with you to build a relationship based on love and honour. I am fighting against PM Modi. My fight is against Modi’s ideology and the violence he is preaching besides his mission of breaking India. I will continue to fight till victory,” he said.
The Congress leader said the people of J&K have an age-old culture of love and honour. “If you start your hatred for the people of J&K, nothing can be achieved,” he said in an apparent reference to BJP. Rahul said he tried to visit J&K during Covid-19 and post Article 370 abrogation but was not allowed to come.
Gandhi said he has a Kashmir connection as his ancestors lived in the Valley. “Today, my family lives in Delhi. Before that they were living in Allahabad, and before that they were living in Kashmir. So I have inherited a tinge of Kashmiriyat that lies inside me,” he said. Rahul, who is also the Congress MP, said he will visit Jammu and Ladakh “very soon”.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Azad while addressing the function suggested Rahul Gandhi of seeking a bill in the Parliament for restoration of statehood in J&K.
“We don’t want Puducherry and Delhi like governments in Jammu and Kashmir. We don’t want the Lieutenant Governor to run the affairs. It’s a border State and LG can’t see law and order situation here,” Azad said, adding, “Only a local chief minister can do so.”
Azad said the Congress had put forth five demands during the recently held All Party Meeting with the Prime Minister in New Delhi.
“We have sought statehood prior to elections,” he said.
Replying to Azad’s suggestion, Gandhi said: “I am not allowed to speak in the Parliament. I can’t speak about Rafael, unemployment and corruption. They (BJP) have attacked judiciary, Lok Sabha and even the voice of media stands muzzled. Journalists can’t write what they want to.”