Indian government should allow Opposition politicians to visit Kashmir : EU delegation

Srinagar, Oct 30: European Union MPs whose visit to Jammu and Kashmir has been criticised by the opposition, said that the Modi government should address the imbalance here and also let in opposition politicians from India to see the situation in Kashmir.

The European lawmaker addressed select media in which local Kashmiri newspapers were kept out.

After visiting Jammu and Kashmir amid tight security, European Union MP Nicolaus Fest said, “I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in opposition politicians from India. So there is some kind of disbalance, the government should somehow address it.”

EU lawmakers said they “fully supported the country in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror”.

“We, the international delegation, fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror… We thank the Indian government and the local administration for their warm hospitality,” one of the MPs said.
“We are Indian citizens and we want to be Indian like all other Indian citizens… we want to have development like other parts of country, locals told us,” another lawmaker said.

MP Chris Davies claimed he was dropped from the trip because he asked for unfettered access to people and places in Kashmir for a fair assessment. The Liberal Democrat MP said: “I am not prepared to take part in a PR stunt for the Modi government and pretend that all is well. It is very clear that democratic principles are being subverted in Kashmir, and the world needs to start taking notice.”

The lawmakers are mainly from far-right parties; only three of the 27 MPs belong to the Left or liberal parties. All of them are visiting India in their private capacity.
They werebriefed by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and police chief Dilbag Singh. The team also interacted with some newly-elected panchayat members and councillors.

Their tour included a shikara ride on the Dal Lake Dal Lake on Tuesday as they visited Jammu and Kashmir under heavy security.

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