“I asked him to come and see the situation for himself. But he has put conditions for his visit — he wants to come with a delegation, then he wants to meet detained politicians. Is it possible? I never invited him with these conditions. So the invitation is withdrawn. In the last week, 20 Indian TV news channels were here. He should talk to them, find about the situation from them and educate himself,” said Malik in an exclusive interview with TOI at Raj Bhavan.
Malik had, on Monday, offered to send an aircraft so that Gandhi could visit J&K. In response, on Tuesday, Gandhi declined the offer of an airplane but sought “freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and soldiers stationed there”. He also said he would bring along a delegation of opposition leaders.
Malik denied that Union home minister Amit Shah would visit Srinagar on August 15 to unfurl the tricolour, saying “Lal Chowk is not Lal Qila”.
Asked if there were any plans to ease restrictions now that Eid had passed, he said curbs on movement of people would be eased after August 15. As far as phones and the Net are concerned, he said these were being used as weapons to misguide and mobilise the youth. “We don’t want to give that instrument to the enemy until things settle down. In a week or 10 days, everything will be alright and we will gradually open lines of communication,” he said.