New Delhi (NVI): In a first visit to Jammu and Kashmir by any foreign delegation since the abrogation of its special status on August 7, a 28-member European Parliamentary delegation will go to the state on October 29.
Ahead of their scheduled visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the EU delegation on October 28, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence. According to reports, the delegation also called on National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.
The visit assumes significance in the backdrop of India countering Pakistani propaganda on the ground situation in Kashmir at various international fora, alongside lifting most of the restrictions imposed since the reformation of the state.
“Prime Minister, while welcoming the delegation to India, expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir. 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,” a PMO statement said.
Meanwhile, the decision to allow the EU Parliamentary delegation to visit Jammu and Kashmir has evoked opposing reactions from former state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior BJP law maker Subramanian Swamy. While the former welcomed the decision,the latter opposed it saying it is a “perversion of our national policy”.
Swamy tweeted, “I am surprised that the MEA has arranged for European Union MPs, in their private capacity [Not EU’s official delegation],to visit Kashmir area of J&K. This is a perversion of our national policy. I urge the Government cancel this visit because it is immoral,”.
Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti welcoming the visit in a tweet said, “If 28 European Parliament members are allowed to take stock of situation in Kashmir, wonder why the same courtesy can’t be extended to American senators. Won’t be surprised if GOIs indulging in normalcy acrobatics again & orchestrating ‘normalcy’ certificates”.
“Hope they get a chance to speak to the people, local media, doctors and civil society members. The iron curtain between Kashmir & the world needs to be lifted and GOI must be held accountable for pushing J&K into turmoil,” she said.