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Absence of democratic system in J&K causing hardship to people: Rahul Gandhi

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Says ongoing anti-encroachment drive aimed at diverting attention from "real" issues

Gulmarg: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused the Centre of snatching the democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and said the anti-encroachment drive was aimed at diverting attention from “real” issues.

Gandhi was speaking at a meeting of party leaders from Jammu and Kashmir here, 52 km from Srinagar, a Congress spokesperson said.

“(Rahul) Gandhi expressed serious concern over the difficulties confronting the people in the absence of a democratic system in J&K while slamming the government for snatching the rights of people,” the spokesman said in a statement here.

The Congress leader, who is on a private visit to Kashmir, accused the Centre of failing the people on all counts.

Gandhi said J&K was divided into two Union Territories against the wishes of the people and they were now being denied their democratic rights by “the BJP aiming to hide its wrong policies and utter failure”.

The Congress shall continue to fight for the democratic rights of the people and ensure justice, he said.

Gandhi slammed the current “eviction drive”, terming it “BJP’s deliberate move to divert the attention of the people from real issues especially rising unemployment, unprecedented price hike and other developmental issues concerning people”.

The J&K administration has launched a massive anti-encroachment drive in the Union Territory to retrieve the state land from encroachers. Major political parties including the National Conference, the Congress and the PDP have demanded an immediate end to it.

“People, especially the youth, are joining the Congress party due to its pro-people policies,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Gandhi urged party leaders to keep their doors open for those wishing to join Congress and encourage them to work for the well-being of the people.

The former party president said he will continue to visit J&K as he felt the pain and anguish of the people.

In her address, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi urged the party leaders to work hard to strengthen the Congress at the grassroots level and stressed that the party “is an instrument of service to the people”. (With inputs from PTI)

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