The back-and-forth over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s proposed visit to Jammu and Kashmir continued on Wednesday as the state governor Satya Pal Malik said the administration is occupied with arrangements for Independence Day and will get in touch with the Wayanad MP at a “convenient time”, PTI reported. This came after Gandhi, earlier in the day, accepted Malik’s invitation to visit the state without any condition and asked him when he could come.
“At present, the entire state administration is preoccupied with making arrangements for the celebration of Independence Day,” Malik said in a statement. The governor said he had referred the matter to the local administration for examination and they would get in touch with Gandhi at a convenient time. He added that he had no further statement to make on the matter.
On Monday, Malik had said he would send a plane to Gandhi so that he could visit the state instead of making “irresponsible” claims about violence in the state following the Centre’s decision to end its special status. However, the Congress leader declined his offer of an aircraft and instead asked for the “freedom to travel and meet the people” along with other Opposition leaders.
On Tuesday, the governor said he had never invited Gandhi for a visit with “so many pre-conditions” and accused him of trying to “create unrest” by seeking to bring along a delegation of Opposition leaders.
The restrictions in Kashmir, put in place on August 4, a day before the Indian government scrapped the special status of the state, were eased on Wednesday to allow some public and traffic movement. The administration removed restrictions on public movement and gathering that were imposed in Jammu.
Some Opposition leaders attempting to visit the state have been detained or sent back from Srinagar airport. On Friday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India leader D Raja were not allowed to enter the state. The day before, senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was stopped at the airport.