Srinagar: “I am a Kashmiri. I have not come here to talk politics. The pain and suffering of this place is my suffering as well,” Rahul Gandhi told university students at an interactive session here on Monday. The Congress General Secretary is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to convince the youth to join the party.

“I am not here to make a political speech. I have come to learn and understand how best I can help the people here,” he said.

“My grandmother was killed when I was just 14 and my father was killed when I was 21. Pain and suffering is not something I cannot understand', Gandhi said.

A large gathering of students listened patiently before the interactive session started at the Kashmir University.

In a visibly relaxed atmosphere, a student told him: “I lost my father when I was just five. Why don't you do something for us if you say you are also a Kashmiri? Kashmiri students are harassed and intimidated in other parts of the country where we go to pursue studies. Unemployment is growing and there are no avenues for professionals and educated people.'

Rahul Gandhi took questions with a smile, though some of them were pointed and carried the anger of the local youth.

“I am not somebody who came here and will forget what you have told me. I will ensure that big corporate houses come here and create employment avenues in IT and other sectors.”

“In a year or two, you will realize what I am promising you today was true. I have a Kashmiri origin and I deeply relate to that origin.”

“I hold interactions with youth throughout the country as it is the youth who shall lead India to a better tomorrow,” Gandhi said.

After his interaction with the students of Kashmir University, Rahul Gandhi paid obeisance at the nearby Hazratbal Shrine, which houses the holy relic of the Prophet Mohammad. Hazratbal is the holiest Muslim shrine of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, he addressed a large gathering at the public park in Kargil town of Ladakh region.

Rahul Gandhi promised to use his clout to have the much-hyped tunnel made across the Zojilla Pass in Ladakh, which would ensure that the desert region of the state remains connected with the rest of the country year round.

Heavy snowfall in the Zojilla Pass blocks the Srinagar-Leh highway for nearly six months every year.

(Agencies)