In the aftermath of the twin blasts in Jammu city on Saturday that left nine people injured, the Congress on Monday said the security of their leader Rahul Gandhi, whose Bharat Jodo Yatra is currently passing through the Union Territory, was supreme for them and there shall be no compromise on it.
“There will be no compromise with Gandhi’s security. His safety and security is supreme for us and we will go by the security advisory and instructions,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, addressing media persons after covering a distance of 22 km from Hatli Morh to Duggar Haveli in Jammu.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma also said that the twin blasts were a cause of grave concern for the party.
“Rahul Gandhi has to stay for the night at Sidhra where another blast occurred a day before. The two blasts raise serious questions on the security scenario. December 28 encounter of four terrorists at Sidhra followed by two terror attacks on January 1 and 2 at Dhangri that claimed seven innocent lives vis-à-vis the government’s claims of war on terrorism show their hollowness. We are also concerned about the security of our leader, and ask the government to check terrorism,” said Sharma.
Ramesh said that during the 22 km walk on Sunday, he observed that police didn’t allow the people to come on roads to see and meet Rahul Gandhi.
“Despite that there was overwhelming response to the Yatra. We hope to get similar response in Jammu and then in Kashmir. Rahul’s message of peace and love is echoing among the people,” he said.
Earlier in the day, a team of officials from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited Jammu city’s Narwal area, where the twin blasts occurred on Saturday. The NIA team, which reached the spot at 9.30am, collected some samples and talked to senior police officials at the site of the blasts. They were also accompanied by senior army officers. The team remained at the site for nearly an hour.
The Jammu police detained six suspects on Saturday in connection with the twin blasts.
Ramesh called the Bharat Jodo Yatra a movement against the hatred and polarisation being spread by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and took a swipe at Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh for criticising the Yatra in an article in a newspaper.
“After 128 days of the Yatra today, the Union minister in PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) suddenly woke up and criticised the Yatra without any logical reasons. He is perturbed by the overwhelming response to the Yatra in J&K but he didn’t say a word about polarisation, political autocracy, social inequalities,” Ramesh said.
To another query regarding the stand of the Congress on Article 370 and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Ramesh said, “The Congress will clear its stand on the issues but the question is when will elections be held in J&K to restore democracy. J&K today is not even a state, it is a Union Territory. For now, J&K is an attached office of the home ministry. The question of elections, restoration of statehood and democracy are more serious issues.”
The Congress leader also accused the BJP of trying to defame the Yatra since day one (September 7).
“In BJP ruled states like Karnataka, MP (Madhya Pradesh) and Maharashtra, determined efforts were made to stop the Yatra but it was very successful in all the BJP ruled states.The BJP didn’t expect the Congress to take out a yatra, didn’t expect to have such a great public response and didn’t expect the Congress to sustain the yatra for so long. They have made every attempt to defame it,” he said.
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ramesh said, “He is fond of FDI and keeps telling that he brought FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) but FDI for him is Fear, Deception and Intimidation….this is real FDI for him.”
Earlier in the day, defence minister Rajnath Singh accused Rahul Gandhi of creating hatred among people in order to regain power, and alleged that he was tarnishing India’s image on international platforms.
“Is India breaking? The country already got divided in 1947. Pakistan was created, though the leaders at that time were not in favour…These days, Rahul Gandhi is going around saying in his Bharat Jodo Yatra that there is hatred everywhere in India,” he said while addressing a programme organised by the Madhya Pradesh government to provide land rights of residential plots to the poor in Singrauli district.
“Rahulji, what has happened to you? You want to regain power by creating hatred. Power cannot be achieved by creating hatred, it can be achieved only by earning the public’s trust and love,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“I humbly want to say to Rahulji, don’t spoil the image of India in the world by talking about hatred. You are creating hate by talking about it. You create hatred towards Modi and BJP by going to the people. The whole world is getting the image that there is only hatred in India,” Singh added.
According to Congress office-bearers, on Monday, Rahul Gandhi will restart the Yatra from Vijaypur to Satwari Chowk in Jammu city where he will address a public rally around 12 noon. On Tuesday, he will address a press conference at Jammu. On January 26, he will hoist Tricolour at Banihal, gateway to Kashmir, and on January 30, he will address a public meeting and hoist Tricolour at the party office at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.