Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday told Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik that he does not need an aircraft but the “freedom to travel and meet people” in the Kashmir Valley.

“Dear Governor Malik, 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, (sic)” Gandhi tweeted.


His tweet comes a day after the Governor on Monday said he will send an aircraft for the Congress leader to visit Kashmir valley and observe the ground situation.

This was in reaction to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that there have been reports of violence in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to the state.

“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,” Malik said.

On the Centre’s move to scrap special status from Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor said there was no communal angle to it. “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.

Malik said the issue was being fanned by some people.

“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.

Last week, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, as well as CPI and CPI-M General Secretaries D Raja and Sitaram Yechury, were detained at the Srinagar airport.

They were sent back to Delhi without allowing them to meet the people and party leaders, many of whom are under house arrest.