EU delegation after visiting J&K: EU parliamentarians visiting Jammu, Kashmir on Wednesday termed Article 370 a fundamental issue of India and told they stand by the country in its struggle against terrorism.
Addressing a press organisation on the last day of their two-day visit to the Valley, the group of 23-members of European Parliament also convicted the killing of 6-labourers from West Bengal by terrorists on Tuesday.
“If we speak about Article 370, it is India’s internal matter. What affects us is terrorism which is a global warning, and we should stand with India in combating it. There was an unfavourable incident of the killing of 5-innocent workers by terrorists. We punish it,” said Henri Malosse from France.
The migrant labourers shot late by terrorists in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. 5-died on Tuesday and a 6th, who was seriously injured, on Wed.
EU delegation after visiting J&K: Malosse told the team got advice from the army & police as well as young activists and exchanged “ideas of peace”.
MEP from Poland Ryszard Czarnecki said the international media coverage seems biased. “Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw,” he said. Newton Dunn from the UK described the visit, aimed at getting a first-hand assessment of the situation after the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370, as an “eye-opener”.
“We belong to a place in Europe which is friendly after years of struggle. And we want to see India enhancing the most peaceful country in the world. And for that, we need to survive by India in its fight upon global-terrorism. This visit has an eyeopener, and we would support what we have seen on ground zero,” he said reporters.
The mission is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the Aug 5 decision of the Centre to remove the state’s special status & bifurcate it into 2-union territories, Jammu & Kashmir, & Ladakh. Wed is the last day of Jammu and Kashmir as a state.
Thierry Mariani, also from France, said the media he had been to India many times and this visit was not to intervene in the internal matter of India but to get first-hand awareness of the ground situation in Kashmir.
“Terrorists can destroy a nation. I have been to Afghanistan, Syria, and I have seen what terrorism has done. We survive with India in its fight upon terrorism,” he said. “By calling us radicals, our image has been soiled. One should know about us correctly before smearing our image,” he added, pointing to some media reports.
The team comprised initially 27 parliamentarians, many from the extreme right or right-wing parties. Still, 4-did not move to Kashmir and have reportedly turned to their respective countries, officials said without disclosing any reason. The team reported here on Tuesday to a complete shutdown, blockades, stone-pelting and conflicts between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.
Terrorists also fired at a bullet-proof, mobile bunker of the CRPF in Pulwama but there were no casualties. On Mon, the MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
While welcoming the MPs to India, he ” stated the hope that they have a fruitful visit to different 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 government priorities of the region,” a PMO statement said.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who hosted a lunch for the 27 visitors, also gave them an overview of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
A few weeks ago, a senator of the United States did deny permission to visit Kashmir.
A joint delegation of opposition MPs, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, undertaking a visit to Kashmir about two months ago, was not allowed to go beyond the Srinagar airport after their arrival from Delhi and were sent back to the national capital.