A group of MPs from the European Union who will ahead to visit Jammu and Kashmir, today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “[Their visit] should give them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region,” PM Modi said.
Twenty-seven EU MPs will fly tomorrow to Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions are in place since the centre’s decision to end special status to the state under Article 370 and split it into two union territories.
The group of MPs met Prime Minister Modi as well as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
In a statement the Prime Minister’s office said, “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.”
Meanwhile, the Congress hit out at the government for allowing the European lawmakers to visit Jammu and Kashmir. In a tweet Congress’s Jairam Ramesh wrote, “When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of J&K, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India’s own Parliament and our democracy!”
Iltija Javed, the daughter of detained former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted: “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”.
Reports suggest that over 4000 people were detained by the central government to prevent backlash in Jammu and Kashmir following the revoking of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state.
Several US lawmakers have expressed concern over the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, US lawmaker Chris Van Hollen was denied permission to visit the state.