SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday took a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and said that the statements and stand taken by the former Congress president on Jammu and Kashmir issue highlight his childish behaviour. "Rahul Gandhi has behaved in a juvenile manner. He should have stopped his party member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in the Lok Sabha. He has till date not cleared his stand on Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370," Governor Malik said at a press conference.
It may be recalled that Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said in Lok Sabha on August 6, 2019 that the United Nations was monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir since 1948, the Narendra Modi government should explain how the issue is an internal matter of India. Chowdhury had made the controversial statement just a day after the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A by the central government.
"You (Centre) say it is an internal matter. But it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN. Is that an internal matter? We signed Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. Was that an internal matter or bilateral. (External Affairs Minister) S Jaishankar told (US Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo a few days ago that Kashmir is a bilateral matter, so do not interfere in it. Can Jammu and Kashmir still be an internal matter? We want to know. Entire Congress party wants to be enlightened by you," he said during the debate on the resolution to abrogate Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019.
It may be recalled that Rahul had also slammed the Centre over its decision to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A without holding any consultations with the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir. Rahul had also claimed that the situation in the region was far from normal and "people are dying" in the region. He had also accused the government of trying to hide the truth by not allowing anyone to visit Jammu and Kashmir. Reacting to Rahul's claims, Governor Malik had 'invited' Rahul to visit the Kashmir valley.
For his part, Rahul had accepted the “invitation” extended by Governor Malik to visit the region but he and some other opposition leaders who went to Srinagar to assess the situation on Saturday were not allowed to walk out of the Srinagar airport and were asked to return from airport to New Delhi.
Reacting to Rahul's visit, Governor Malik said on Monday that the Gandhi scion had made the “invitation” extended by him to visit Jammu and Kashmir “an unending business”.
“At first he (Rahul Gandhi) did not give an answer for five days. Then he said that he would come with other people, meet prisoners, meet security personnel. After this I withdrew my invitation saying the conditions were not acceptable…I left the decision on the administration,” said the J&K Governor.
After retutning to New Delhi, Rahul told the media that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is "clearly not normal" and he also alleged that alleged that media personnel who accompanied the delegation of opposition leaders were "mishandled" and "beaten up".
"Some days ago I was invited by the governor to visit J&K. I accepted the invitation. We wanted to get a sense of what people are going through, but we weren't allowed beyond the airport. Press people with us were mishandled, beaten. It's clear that the situation in J&K isn't normal," news agency ANI quoted Gandhi as saying.
Rahul's ''people dying'' in Jammu and Kashmir statement was however misused by Pakistan as Islamabad quoted the Congress leader in a written statement to the United Nations (UN).
“These, and other, acts of violence have even been acknowledged by mainstream politicians, such as the Leader of the Congress Party, Mr. Rahul Gandhi who has noted 'people dying' in Jammu & Kashmir, in light of events 'going very wrong there',” Pakistan said in its statement to the UN.
The use of Rahul's false claims on Jammu and Kashmir forced the Gandhi scion to shift its stand on Centre's move to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Taking to microblogging site Twitter on Wednesday, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit out at Pakistan, saying “Kashmir is India’s internal issue”.
The Gandhi scion blamed Pakistan for incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, saying “there is violence because it is instigated and supported” by the neighbouring country. He referred to Pakistan as “the prime supporter of terrorism across the world”.
“I disagree with this Govt. on many issues. But, let me make this absolutely clear: Kashmir is India’s internal issue & there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it,” said the former Congress chief.
The Congress also rushed to minimise the damage caused by Rahul's statements after he was quoted by Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of trying to “justify the pack of lies” and spreading “deliberate misinformation”.
A statement released by Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala read, “INC has noticed reports citing an alleged petition moved by Pakistani Government to United Nations on Jammu & Kashmir, wherein name of Shri Rahul Gandhi has been mischievously dragged to justify the pack of lies and deliberate misinformation being spread by Pakistan. Let no one in the world be in doubt that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and shall always remain an integral part of India. No amount of diabolical deception by Pakistan shall change this irrevocable truth.”