The visit of right-wing European parliamentarians (MEPs) to the state of Jammu and Kashmir stirred a controversy after local politicians aren’t being allowed to go there.
This was the first international delegation to visit the region since August, after the state was stripped the of its special powers, split into two union territories and forced into a lockdown.
The 27 MEPs from UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Poland arrived in Srinagar under heavy security cover and took a boat ride on the Dal lake.
The delegation was housed in a luxury hotel by the Dal lake. They met about 15 hand-picked folks who were students and traders before taking the boat ride.
Local residents largely remained home during their visit to the state in protests against the “wrong portrayal of the situation”. The markets and roads were deserted.
On the day of their visit five civilians were killed by terrorists, and a trucker was killed the previous day.
Off the 27 European parliamentarians only 23 arrived, while the rest four returned back home. The parliamentary delegation are often known for their anti-Muslim rhetoric.
However, the EU parliament in a statement clarified that the visiting MEPs were visiting in their personal capacity and not an official one.
Opposition parties have questioned the Indian government for giving “fascist” leaders a visit to the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met the MEPs on Monday, said in a statement that the visit “should give the delegation a clear view of the development and government priorities of the region”.
Although their visit is largely described as a PR stunt by the Modi government.