Taasir English News Network | Uploaded on 30-Oct-2019
SRINAGAR: The group of 23 European Union MPs who are in Jammu and Kashmir will “fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror”, one of the visiting leaders said this morning as they addressed select members of the media, which excludes local Kashmiri news outlets. The international delegation had meetings with army officials and were taken on a shikara ride on the Dal Lake on Tuesday as they visited Jammu and Kashmir under heavy security and a shutdown in parts of the state.. This is the first time an international team has been allowed in Jammu and Kashmir since the government ended its special status and split it into two union territories in August. The opposition has questioned how foreign MPs have been allowed in the state when politicians in India have been denied the opportunity.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
- “We, the international delegation, fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror… We thank the Indian government and the local administration for their warm hospitality,” one of the MPs said.
- The MPs travelled in bullet-proof vehicles with a security convoy as they were taken from the airport in Srinagar to a luxury hotel in the city. The lawmakers are mainly from far-right parties; only three of the 27 MPs belong to the Left or liberal parties. All of them are visiting India in their private capacity.
- After a traditional Kashmiri welcome, the European lawmakers were briefed by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and police chief Dilbag Singh. The team also interacted with some newly-elected panchayat members and councillors. Visuals showed the group driving through deserted roads of Srinagar, their drive taking them past four detention facilities where dozens of politicians including three former Chief Ministers have been detained.
- Many alleged that no prominent civil society group, trade body or mainstream Kashmiri political party could meet the EU lawmakers. Two MPs of National Conference said they were blocked from meeting the group.
- The visit ended with a trip to Dal Lake, Srinagar’s most prominent tourist draw, where the MPs were seen taking a boat ride. PTI reported that the boating took place near the Centaur Hotel, where more than 30 politicians and activists have been under detention since August 5.
- Four of the 27 lawmakers dropped out of the visit and flew back to their countries. Ahead of the visit, Thierry Mariani, a Euro MP for France’s far-right National Rally, was quoted as telling Agence France-Presse (AFP), “We are going to see the situation in Kashmir, at least what they want to show us.”
- Another MP, Chris Davies, claimed he was dropped from the trip because he asked for unfettered access to people and places in Kashmir for a fair assessment. The Liberal Democrat MP said: “I am not prepared to take part in a PR stunt for the Modi government and pretend that all is well. It is very clear that democratic principles are being subverted in Kashmir, and the world needs to start taking notice.”
- The European Union parliamentarians visited Jammu and Kashmir on a day when five labourers from West Bengal were killed by terrorists in Kulgam district. Another labourer was injured in the attack.
- After the MPs met PM Modi on Monday, a statement from his office had said, “Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region.”
- Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi have slammed the visit. “I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in opposition politicians from India. So there is some kind of disbalance, the government should somehow address it,” Nicolaus Fest, one of the MPs was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
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