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27 EU lawmakers head to Srinagar to get first-hand view of situation

The trip comes just two days before the state is set to turn into a Union territory following the August 5 decision to abrogate the special status granted to J&K and bifurcate it into centrally administered regions of J&K and Ladakh.

ET Bureau|
Oct 29, 2019, 07.10 AM IST
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ANI
ANI
The EU panels visit comes close on the heels of a US Congressional meeting in Washington.
New Delhi: A delegation of 27 lawmakers from European Union nations is set to visit Srinagar on Tuesday to assess the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The trip comes just two days before the state is set to turn into a Union territory following the August 5 decision to abrogate the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into centrally administered regions of J&K and Ladakh. The members of the delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Monday to discuss the situation in the state.

The delegation, which includes five members each from the UK, France and Italy, was briefed on recent developments in J&K and efforts by the government to provide equal opportunities to the locals and restore normalcy in the state following the decision to revoke Article 370, which granted special status to the state, said people aware of the matter. They said the delegation, which is scheduled to stay overnight in Kashmir, welcomed steps taken by India, including a crackdown on corruption. Some of delegation members belong to conservative and right wing parties in the EU.

Agencies

The visit of the EU lawmakers will coincide with the PM’s trip to Riyadh, which has taken a neutral stand on the Kashmir issue and is seeking to widen strategic partnership with India. In a communique after the meeting, the government said that Prime Minister Modi welcomed the delegation and wished it a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including 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,” it said. The delegation was briefed by Doval for more than 40 minutes and it met with intellectuals, editors and politicians from J&K over lunch, said the people cited earlier.

The EU panels visit comes close on the heels of a US Congressional meeting in Washington, where a group of lawmakers expressed concern about the situation in J&K, which suffered a communications blockade for more than two months following the August 5 decision.

India raised the issue of Pakistan sponsored protests in different parts of the EU over the past months and conveyed to the delegation members that this was 'deliberate mischief' by the deep state across the border to create a false impression about Kashmir, said a person privy to the information.

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