Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday night urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assuage concerns after news reports of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been in a security lockdown since the Centre withdrew its special status last week.
Gandhi said the party’s meeting to choose his successor was stopped because of the reports emerging from the region. The party’s working committee chose his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi the interim president.
“Things are going very wrong there,” the Congress MP told reporters. “There are reports of violence, of people dying. We stopped deliberation on our meeting to conduct a presentation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It is imperative that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Central government come clean on the matter.”
Follow Scroll.in’s coverage of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rahul Gandhi said the party was concerned about the reports and added that the government needed to “assuage the country and tell the nation exactly what is happening and be completely transparent”. He asked the Centre to take “urgent steps to ensure the safety of every citizen in J&K and to lift the veil of secrecy”.
The Congress Working Committee, which met twice during the day to decide its next leader, passed a resolution expressing serious concern about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It called on the government to allow a delegation of Opposition parties visit the region.
Rahul Gandhi, who was not part of the deliberations on the leadership matter, said he attended the discussion on Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Home Affairs refuted reports of thousands of people holding demonstrations in Srinagar following afternoon prayers on Friday. The ministry said none of these protests involved a crowd of more than 20 people.
The state police also claimed that not a single bullet had been fired in the Valley in the six days since the clampdown. “Things are absolutely normal, not a single incident has been reported from South Kashmir even,” Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told Hindustan Times after the reports appeared in Reuters and Al Jazeera.
In a statement, the state administration asked people not to believe fake and motivated news. “The situation is calm, people are cooperative and restrictions are being relaxed to ease the situation,” the police tweeted.