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'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

This was Gandhi's first visit to the Union Territory since the abrogation of Article 370.

Published
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed party workers on Tuesday, 10 August calling for the restoration of the Jammu and Kashmir's full statehood for and conduction of assembly elections.</p></div>
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A day after reaching Srinagar for a two-day visit to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed party workers on Tuesday, 10 August, calling for the restoration of the UT's full statehood and conduction of Assembly elections.

"We demand the restoration of full statehood for Jammu & Kashmir and free and fair elections here," Gandhi stated, news agency ANI reported.

This was Gandhi's first visit to the Union Territory since the abrogation of Article 370.

The Congress leader also said that his visit was a "homecoming" and expressed that he "understood" the people of Kashmir.

He said, "Our family lives in Delhi now. Before that, we used to live in Allahabad and before that, in Kashmir. I, too, believe in Kashmiriyat; a bit of it is also within me."

'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

'I Fight Against Fear'

Hitting out at the central government, the leader said that he promises to combat "Narendra Modi's ideology of fear, division and violence".

Stressing on the ideals his party aims to work in the region, the leader said, "I fight against fear. Wherever I go, my fight will be against hate. There is a difference between us and the rest of the parties – that we do not hate anyone; we do not use violence against anyone."

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The MP from Wayanad also inaugurated a new office for the Congress and address party functionaries saying, "My message to you (Congress workers and the people of J&K) is that I have brought respect and love for you... this new office is a new beginning," NDTV quoted.

'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Gandhi also paid a visit to the famous Hazratbal Dargah in Srinagar and, in a post on Instagram, captioned his photos: "Prayed for peace and brotherhood at Hazratbal Dargah. The biggest strength of our country is our unity - there is no place for hate and fear here."

'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

'Have a Bit of Kashmiriyat in Me': Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

'All Indian Institutions Under Attack'

He also iterated the alleged muzzling of the Opposition by the Centre by saying that "Pegasus, Rafale, Jammu and Kashmir, corruption and unemployment are not allowed to be talked about in Parliament," and added that the Union government is attacking all democratic institutions of India.

"There is assault on every institution in India. The judiciary is under assault; Parliament (also). The media is not reflecting the truth... they are being suppressed, threatened. They are scared. They fear losing jobs if they report facts. The media is not performing...it is responsible, honestly," the congress leader went on to state, censuring the government further, NDTV quoted.

On 5 August 2019, Articles 370 and 35(A) that gave the erstwhile state its special status and the mandate to define its domicile rule were revoked.

Days after, Gandhi was among the delegation of Congress workers who were prevented from visiting the UT.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on 28 July 2021, addressed the Rajya Sabha and said that Jammu and Kashmir will be granted statehood once "normalcy is restored" in the region.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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