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After guided tour, envoys of Maldives, Argentina laud J&K’s ground situation

The envoys were invited by the government to see for themselves the situation in the backdrop of India’s August 5 decision to withdraw the special status given to J&K and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 08.32 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Envoys from the Maldives and Argentina lauded the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir after visiting the Union territory as part of a 15-member group of ambassadors based in Delhi.

The envoys were invited by the government to see for themselves the situation in the backdrop of India’s August 5 decision to withdraw the special status given to J&K and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories. They said the people they met appreciated the lack of bloodshed in the Valley in the past five months.

“My impression is that the people we met in Srinagar may not have been initially very happy with the abrogation of Article 370 but have accepted the fact. In the conversations we had with them a desire to move on was expressed. Almost everyone was happy that there had been no bloodshed,” the Maldivian Ambassador to India Aishath Mohamed Didi told ET.

She said people in Kashmir spoke about their expectations from the government to deliver on the promises of economic development and also wanted to know more about the plans of the government.

Referring to the Jammu leg of the visit, she said: “The disadvantaged groups we met in Jammu were excited about the opportunity for political representation in the future. People expressed a need to protect permanent residentship and government jobs for locals.”

The Kashmiri Pandits, who have been living in Jammu for the past three decades, spoke with strong emotions and a desire to return to their homes in Kashmir with assurance of their own safety, said the Maldivian Ambassador.

Expressing similar sentiments, Argentine Ambassador Daniel Chuburu said: “The visit was very interesting and helped me a lot in understanding a little more about the situation. We had the chance in Srinagar to talk with three different groups — politicians, journalists and civil society.”

Chuburu said the meetings were arranged by the hosts and that the group also met the Army commander and his staff. “From them we learnt about the situation vis-a-vis Pakistan and the attempts to infiltrate terrorists in Indian territory,” he said.

He said the people spoke about what happened as a consequence of the elimination of Articles 370 and 35A (which granted special rights to locals). “They referred to recovering statehood, release of prisoners, eliminating restrictions on the Internet and starting to see the benefits of the action taken by the government. Also, issues like the restoration of the law of domicile and creation of jobs figured in the meetings,” he said.

“During the visit to Jammu we had meetings with the authorities, civil society and Kashmiri Pandits. The government tried to explain the situation when they took office by mid-2018 and the measures taken since then and since August 5,” said Chuburu. “The second group identified themselves as victims of 370 and 35A, as per explanations all were groups affected one way or the other losing rights or not been able to access right related to the domicile.”

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