SRINAGAR – Terming the visit of European Union MPs to Jammu and Kashmir as a “PR exercise”, the National Conference on Tuesday said such “stunts” are not the answer to the situation in the region.
A delegation of 23 European Union MPs arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation in the region following the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370.
“The visit of the selected EU MPs, largely of a particular ideology, is clearly a PR exercise. It is ironical that European MPs are visiting the Valley when the state’s leaders including three former Chief Ministers, are incarcerated for nearly three months now, and hundreds of others are in jails across the country,” the NC said in a statement.
The party said the Centre should take “concrete steps” to resolve the issue in the state. .
“What the people of Kashmir think of the MPs’ visit is very clear from an intensified shutdown in the Valley today,” it said.
During the two-day visit, the EU MPs will be briefed by government officials on the situation in the Valley as well as other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
“The National Conference would like to underline that PR stunts are not an answer to the unprecedented situation prevailing since August 5. The Centre should instead take concrete steps to heal the wounds of the people. That is possible only when those who have been incarcerated are released, democracy is restored and a dialogue initiated with all stakeholders of Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.
EU MPs who suffer from Islamophobia to visit Kashmir: Owasi
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the Modi government for allowing a foreign delegation of EU MPs to visit Kashmir. He also pointed out that most of the MPs who are a part of the EU Parliamentary delegation suffer from Islamophobia.
“Fantastic Choice of MEPs who suffer from a disease -Islamophobia (Nazi lovers) are going to Muslim majority Valley, sure people will welcome them by ‘Ware Paeth Khoshh Paeth’,” he said.
He also accused the government of double standards.
“Gairon pe karam apano pe sitam, ai jaan-e-vafaa ye zulm na kar, rahane de abhi thodaa saa dharma, (being kind to others while torturing your own, don’t do this, let their be a little justice),” he said retweeting a media report.
Govt Trying to Conceal ‘Real’ Situation: PDP
The PDP will not be part of any “rhetoric” the Centre wants to build by concealing the “real situation” in Jammu and Kashmir, the party said on Tuesday, distancing itself from any member who attended a lunch hosted by NSA Ajit Doval.
Doval on Monday met for lunch a group of 27 European lawmakers, who are visiting Kashmir on Tuesday. It was attended by senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, among others from the state.
This is the first foreign delegation to go to Kashmir after abrogation of the state’s special status and the visit is being seen as a major diplomatic outreach by the government to counter Pakistan’s narrative on the situation in Kashmir.
However, critics have pointed out that most of the lawmakers belong to extreme right or right wing parties in their countries.
The PDP “officially distances itself from any (of its) members who attended (National Security Advisor) Doval’s lunch yesterday”, party spokesman and former legislator Firdous Tak said.
He told PTI that “a member’s interaction with the establishment must not be construed as the party’s endorsement for the same”.
Tak said if any leader has met the European delegation, he has done it in his personal capacity
Besides Baig, former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari, some newly-elected J-K block development council members and co-owner of Real Kashmir Football Club Sandeep Chattoo attended the lunch in Delhi.
Several leaders and activists from the state, including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, are under detention after the abrogation of the state’s special status on August 5
However, Tak said, “We hope that those who met the delegation must have projected the right situation .
“The PDP has every reason to believe that normalcy theatrics by BJP government was the result of tremendous international and national pressure following its misadventures in J-K.
“The party will not be part of any rhetoric the government of India wants to build around by concealing the real situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Tak said.
The PDP has been vociferously vocal and critical of the government of India’s move to illegally abrogate Article 370 provisions, he said.