Opposition: EU MPs's Jammu and Kashmir visit PR stunt, national embarrassment

Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 08:05 IST | Agencies | Srinagar

Opposition comes down heavily on BJP govt for allowing a EU delegation to visit Kashmir while denying permission to Indian parliamentarians, leaders

A girl runs for cover after throwing stones at security forces during a protest in Srinagar on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
A girl runs for cover after throwing stones at security forces during a protest in Srinagar on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

Srinagar: A delegation of 23 European Union (EU) MPs arrived here on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the state's special status under Article 370.

They met local body members and the members of civil society here. Earlier in the day, in a meeting which took place at 15 Corps Headquarters in Srinagar, the delegation was also briefed on the role of the Pakistani Army in pushing terrorists into India.

Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, slammed the BJP government on Tuesday for allowing EU MPs to visit Kashmir while denying permission to Indian parliamentarians, even as the BJP defended the action saying nobody has stopped them from visiting the Valley.

The Congress said decision to allow the EU MPs was a "national embarrassment" and sought accountability. The National Conference termed it a 'PR stunt' and the CPI(M) said it is an "affront" to Parliament and its sovereignty, even as a CPI leader wrote to Modi requesting him that he be allowed to visit J&K as foreign delegates have been accorded a 'red carpet' welcome.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the BJP's nationalism is strange, allowing European MPs to visit and interfere in Kashmir. Congress's Anand Sharma said, "EU MPs representing parties and ideologies in direct conflict with the mainstream. Diplomatic disaster which ended up internationalising what is essentially our internal issue. National embarrassment." BSP leader Mayawati said the government should have allowed Opposition party MPs to visit J&K before sending EU MPs to assess the situation there.

No. of European Union MPs visiting Kashmir

Chris Davies

'Invite cancelled as I wanted to travel freely'

A senior UK politician claimed on Tuesday that the Indian government withdrew with little explanation its invitation to him to be part of an European Union delegation currently on a visit to Kashmir after he demanded to speak with local people without a police escort. Liberal Democrat EU MP Chris Davies said the decision showed the Indian government was trying to hide the "reality of its actions" and blocking absolute freedom of the press. "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," said Davies.

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