In a first of its kind, a delegation of 23 European Union MPs arrived in Srinagar on Tuesday (October 29) for a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370 almost three months back.
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 team is also likely to meet a cross-section of people.
The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, mostly from extreme right or right wing parties, but four did not travel to Kashmir and have reportedly returned to their respective countries, officials said.
This is the first high-level foreign delegation visiting Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Central government announcing the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and the decision to bifurcate the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
There was a complete shutdown in the city and at least four people were injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in various parts of the Valley and in Srinagar, officials said.
On Monday, the members of the European Parliament met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. While welcoming the MPs to India, he “expressed the hope that they have 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 government priorities of the region,” a PMO statement said.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who hosted a lunch for the visitors, also gave them an overview of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
A few weeks ago, a senator of the United States was denied permission to visit Kashmir.
A joint delegation of opposition MPs, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, undertaking a visit to Kashmir about two months ago, was not allowed to go beyond the Srinagar airport after their arrival from Delhi and were sent back to the national capital.
(With inputs from agencies)