Modi, Ajit Doval brief European panel ahead of Tuesday’s Kashmir visit

Kashmir issue, Article 370
The visit comes over two months after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 by the Centre | Photo: PTI

A European Union (EU) delegation comprising 25 MPs was on Monday (October 28) briefed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, ahead of their visit to Kashmir on Tuesday.

The delegation was briefed about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and cross-border terrorism emanating from across the border, reports said. The delegation is also set to meet Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday.

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The visit comes over two months after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 by the Centre. The move was followed by communication shutdown in the state, which attracted attention worldwide. The situation received widespread coverage by the international media, which carried reports about communication blackout and alleged human rights violations.

Since the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, several US lawmakers had urged the Indian government to restore communication in the state and release the detained politicians. Earlier this month, US Senator Chris Van Hollen had claimed that he was denied permission by the government to visit Kashmir to assess the situation.

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According to reports, the prime minister, during his discussion with the delegation, stressed having zero tolerance for terrorism. He told the panel that urgent action must be taken against those who sponsor terror activities or use it as state policy, reports added.

Expressing hope that the parliamentarians’ visit to various parts of the country will be fruitful, Modi said the visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give them a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

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The prime minister also hoped that it will give them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region, it said. Modi also appreciated the importance the parliamentarians attach to their relationship with India by visiting right at the beginning of their term.

Meanwhile, reacting to the news of the upcoming visit of the European delegation to Kashmir, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija tweeted from the PDP chief’s Twitter handle, wondering whether the panel members will be given a chance to speak to the locals and the civil society members.

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“Hope they get a chance to speak to the people, local media, doctors and civil society members. The iron curtain between Kashmir & the world needs to be lifted and GOI must be held accountable for pushing J&K into turmoil,” the tweet read.

In another tweet, she said, “If 28 European Parliament members are allowed to take stock of situation in Kashmir, wonder why the same courtesy can’t be extended to American senators. Won’t be surprised if GOIs indulging in normalcy acrobatics again & orchestrating ‘normalcy’ certificates (sic).”

(With inputs from agencies)