Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a surprise visit to Maisuma locality, the hub of separatist protests in the city, near the city centre of Lal Chowk for a tea and snacks break at a local vendor.
“Just after leaving the Congress party office (at M A Road here) for airport, Rahul ji expressed a desire to visit Lal Chowk, so the cavalcade made a u-turn at Jehangir Chowk and halted at Maisuma Chowk (near Lal Chowk),” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President G A Mir told PTI. At Maisuma, which is the bastion of separatist leader and JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, Rahul walked up to a local vendor at the busy market place, sending his security team into frenzy.
“Rahul had tea, pakoras (snacks) and Bakirkhani (local bread) at the vendor. He also bought potato chips and ‘nadrumunj’ (the famous Kashmiri snacks made from lotus stems) from the vendor and took them home,” Mir said.
The JKPCC president said Rahul felt very happy after visiting Maisuma. “He was extremely happy and excited,” he said.
Earlier, the congress vice-president visited many religious places in the Valley including the revered shrines of Kheer Bhawani and Hazratbal. “Rahul paid obeisance at the temple of Kheer Bhawani (in Ganderbal district), at Hazratbal Shrine (on the banks of the famous Dal Lake here) and at a temple in Ishber Nishat,” Mir said. He said Rahul also wanted to visit the shrine of Makhdoom sahib atop the Hariparbat hillock in downtown Srinagar.
“However, the security agencies did not allow the visit at such a short notice,” Mir said.
Rahul also visited the party headquarters here his first visit there after the last years’ flood. “He visited the party office and interacted with the party cadre,” Mir said. Rahul, who was on a three-day visit to the state, concluded his tour after his Ladakh visit was cancelled earlier.
“The Ladakh visit could not fructify as there was some change in his earlier schedule. Rahul will visit the state again in the coming months and that time he will only go to Ladakh,” the Congress sources said.