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Rahul Gandhi Vows to Support 'Statehood' For Jammu & Kashmir

© AP Photo / Channi AnandIndia's opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, speaks during a 5-month-long “Unite India March,” in Jammu, India, Monday, Jan.23, 2023.
India's opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, speaks during a 5-month-long “Unite India March,” in Jammu, India, Monday, Jan.23, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.01.2023
Jammu and Kashmir had a semi-autonomous status until August 2019, when its autonomy was revoked and it was split into two union territories amid continued militant attacks in the region.
Senior Congress party politician Rahul Gandhi said his party would support the demand for a restoration of the statehood for Jammu and Kashmir with all its strength, senior Congress member Rahul Gandhi vowed during a speech in Jammu city on Monday.
Last week, Gandhi entered J&K leading the Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India Rally), a foot march headed by the opposition leader from the southern tip of India in Tamil Nadu state’s Kanyakumari.

“Statehood is a big issue, and your right was snatched. Congress party is in complete solidarity for restoration of statehood and Congress Party will support it with all its strength,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi also raised the issue of Kashmiri Pandits, saying that the community was demanding their rights and "not begging."
The Pandit community has been protesting in Jammu region after facing a spate of targeted assassinations by militants. Government employees from the community are asking the J&K administration to move them out of Kashmir to safer areas of Jammu.
Indian army soldiers patrol at the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan border in Poonch, about 250 kilometers (156 miles) from Jammu, India - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.01.2023
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They have also claimed their salaries were withheld as a response to a continued protest. Gandhi said Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha, who heads the J&K administration, should seek forgiveness from the community.

“One Kashmiri Pandit delegation came to meet me and I was astonished to hear them say that LG had told them they shouldn't be begging. LG should know that they are not begging, they are demanding their rights. LG should seek forgiveness from them,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi also took a shot at Indian media for not covering the ground situation in Kashmir. “Land being snatched from the poor people in J&K, why don’t we see that in the media,” said Gandhi, while referring to ongoing massive evictions launched by authorities in J&K against those whom it has accused of encroaching on state-owned land.
Gandhi said he was not allowed to talk about key issues in the parliament including China grabbing land in Ladakh. The two Asian giants are involved in a military standoff at the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region.
“Whenever we wanted to speak our mic was turned off,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi, who is visiting the region, is expected to enter the Kashmir Valley this week. Security personnel are on high alert in the troubled region on account of Republic Day on January 26 and Gandhi's visit.