Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today said Kashmiriyat, a syncretic culture of Kashmir, is the foundation of India and it is under assault at present not only in Jammu and Kashmir but throughout India.
Without mentioning revocation of Article 370, he said his party has a clear stand on Jammu and Kashmir and called for the restoration of J&K’s statehood and conducting elections for J&K Assembly.
Earlier, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in his speech urged Rahul Gandhi to ask the government in the parliament to bring a bill to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir having safeguards about land and jobs. "It will take the government just five minutes to pass the bill," Azad said.
“My family is presently living in Delhi. Earlier we were living in Allahabad and before Allahabad, my family was living here. So, I can say that I understand you a bit. My family might have taken Jhelum water that is why your customs and thinking, which we call Kashmiriyat is in me as well. Whenever I come here, I feel I am coming back home,” Rahul said addressing Congress workers at the inauguration of Congress Bhavan at Maulana Azad Road at Lal Chowk Srinagar. “If you want to take people in J&K along, you have to talk to people of Jammu and Kashmir with love, with dignity and you have to embrace them. But if you treat people of J&K with hatred, violence, and indignity, you cannot achieve anything,” Rahul said.
“Jammu and Kashmir is not the only place which is facing assault whole of India are facing it. Ghulam Nabi Azad said we should raise the issue (of statehood restoration) in the parliament but in the parliament, they won’t allow us to raise it. We are being suppressed there,” Rahul said. “In the parliament, we cannot speak about Pegasus, Rafale, Corruption, and Jammu and Kashmir. They (the government) are assaulting every institution of the county. They are assaulting the judiciary, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” Rahul said.
While looking towards media persons, he said, “We have media but they don’t write the truth. They are being suppressed and threatened. They are afraid throughout the country. They fear if they write something and they will lose their jobs. I call them brothers but they don’t fulfil their responsibility.”
He said the whole country is facing assault, whether it is Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, or Bengal. “The concept of India based on the democratic structure is under attack. In the rest of the country, it is under indirect attack but in J&K it is facing direct attack.”
“We have cleared our position. We want that full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir should be restored and the democratic process should begin. The democratic process is free and fair elections and they should be held,” Rahul added.
Recalling the achievements of Congress, he said the Congress government conduct Panchayati polls in Jammu and Kashmir, brought big industrialists of the country to invest in Jammu and Kashmir, and started different programmes in J&K. “We would send youths of Kashmir to different states of the country. We were doing integration work with love and brotherhood and they attacked that very process of integration.”
“I understand people of Jammu and Kashmir are pained and sad. But I want to convey to you that I want to have a relation with you, relations based on dignity and love. I fight against Narendra Modi and we will continue to fight against the ideology of Narendra Modi, which is divisive and violent. We will fight against this ideology and we will beat it.”
Earlier, J&K Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also spoke. Azad said in this democratic country the biggest joke was played by the central government against Jammu and Kashmir by reducing the J&K state into a Union Territory and divided it into two. He said over 16000 persons including former chief ministers were arrested on August 4, 2019, a day ahead of the abrogation of Article 370. “Don’t tell us the situation of those days. One becomes sad to recall them. We were not allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir under All Parties Delegation led by Rahul Gandhi,” he said. He said he had to visit Jammu and Kashmir under the orders of the Supreme Court. He said the Prime Minister called All Parties Meeting on June 24. He said the Congress party had raised five issues during the meeting including restoration of the statehood and holding of elections. “We asked first statehood should be restored and then elections in J&K be held. It is in the favour of all if they announce J&K statehood first and then conduct elections,” he said. He said two things were taken away from J&K. Azad said in this budget session a bill to restore the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir should be brought and passed.
Mir said at a time when they were kept in custody and all decisions about J&K were taken in Delhi through undemocratic means, it was Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad who spoke about J&K and its people.
Mir said Rahul Gandhi was the first to react to undemocratic and unconstitutional decisions taken by the BJP government about Kashmir on August 5, 2019. He said Congress working Committee on August 6, 2019, a day after revocation of Article 370, decided to side with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “We should have confidence in Rahul Gandhi in our battle to make Jammu and Kashmir again a beautiful state,” Mir added.