On Saturday Rahul Gandhi along with a group of other leaders from the opposition camp were sent back from the Srinagar airport after they had embarked on a tour to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir from Delhi seemingly in a bid to further politicize the issue.
“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.” Rahul Gandhi had said.
Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Kashmir came around twenty days after the Parliament moved ahead and abrogated several discriminatory provisions of Article 370, however this visit was not only halfhearted but also surely delayed and reluctant. What unfolded during this ‘tour’ which many have alleged to be purely a political spectacle was nothing more than a well planned trip to the Srinagar Airport along with some onboard interactions with the media and the passengers. While the intensity by which Congress Party had opposed the legislative developments in Jammu and Kashmir, so much so that the Parliamentary leader of the party had even questioned India’s sovereignty over the region, Rahul Gandhi’s conduct not only lacked the intensity which the party had projected in the parliament and outside around Delhi but also reeked of ulterior motives.
While the security forces have been steadfast in the UT maintaining peace, this political tour was sure, to hinder the security preparations in place and further increase the pressure on the security forces. Such high profile movement in the region could have also possibly inflated the issue further increasing the problems not only for the security forces but also for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Nonetheless Rahul Gandhi, who is now indulging in political rhetoric, had eaten the frog when the related bills were being presented in the Lok Sabha, and was a mute spectator while Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was questioning India’s sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.
While the opposition delegation was nearly sure to be stopped at the Srinagar Airport even before they had started their journey from Delhi, looking at the intensity with which Rahul Gandhi had been tweeting on the issue many expected him to resist the security agencies and do what he claimed to have gone to Jammu and Kashmir to do – meet the people, however what followed is no secret; with an hour of stay at the Srinagar Airport where even controversial media persons were seen jeering the security forces, Rahul and his team comfortably got on another plane back to the comforts of Delhi.
While Rahul Gandhi has been trying hard to churn controversy around the security preparations and take aim at the central government he has unequivocally failed to gauge the mood of the nation. And now this half hearted and untimely visit to Jammu and Kashmir has further alienated the grand old party from the citizens who are hoping for a peaceful withdrawal of the security arrangements in the region.