A 23-member delegation of European Union Members of Parliament left for Indian occupied Kashmir on Tuesday morning to see first-hand the ground situation in the region after the scrapping of Article 370, which gave Jammu & Kashmir special status, reported Hindustan Times.
This will be the first visit by any international delegation to the Valley after Aug 5 when the Indian parliament passed resolutions and laws to scrap special status to the state and special privileges to its residents and split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.
This was followed by a strict communication lockdown and other restrictions in the Valley, which is in effect ever since.
“It is an opportunity for us to go into Kashmir as a foreign delegation and to be able to see firsthand for ourselves what is happening on the ground,” said Nathan Gill, Member of European Parliament from Wales.
The visit to Valley comes a day after the delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. The opposition Congress, however, criticized the move with party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeting: “MPs from Europe are welcome to go on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir while Indian MPs are banned and denied entry. There is something very wrong with that.”
The delegation comprised Poland’s Joana Kopcinska, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Ryszard Czarnecki, Kosma Zlotowski, Bogdan Rzonca, Elzbieta Rafalska; Italy’s Silvia Sardone, Gianna Gancia, Fulvio Martusciello, Guiseppe Ferrandino; France’s France Jamet, Nicholas Bay, Virginie Joron, Julie Lechanteux, Maxette Pirbakas, and Thierry Mariani.