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'Insult to Democracy': Row After Govt Lets EU Panel Visit J&K as Oppn Asks Why Indian MPs Barred

The visit has been described as an “unofficial one”, but it signals a shift in the government stand as it had previously not allowed US lawmakers to visit the state.


Updated:October 28, 2019, 11:33 PM IST
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'Insult to Democracy': Row After Govt Lets EU Panel Visit J&K as Oppn Asks Why Indian MPs Barred
PM Modi poses for a photograph with the members of European Parliament during a call on, in New Delhi, Monday, October 28, 2019. (Twitter/ PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The government’s decision to allow members of the European Parliament to visit Jammu and Kashmir to assess the ground situation in the state after the scrapping of special status has kicked up a controversy with opposition parties questioning why their leaders have been prevented from entering the state.

Claiming that it was an insult to India's parliament and democracy, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asked as to why the "chest-beating champion of nationalism", in an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has allowed European leaders to visit Jammu and Kashmir when it was an internal matter of India.

"When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of J&K, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India's own Parliament and our democracy," he tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also termed it as an 'insult to Indian democracy' that no Opposition leaders were allowed to visit Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370. Tharoor said that his request to send all-party delegation to Kashmir is yet to be accepted.

"My request, made during the LokSabha debate on Article 370, for an All-Party delegation of MPs to visit to see the situation for themselves, has still not been accepted. But members of the EuropeanParliament can travel as our Government's guests? What an #InsultToIndianDemocracy! (sic)" he said in a tweet.

A delegation of European Union Parliamentarians will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday to see the ground reality there after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

The visit has been described as an “unofficial one”, but it signals a shift in the government stand as it had previously not allowed US lawmakers to visit the state.

The EU panel will seek to talk to locals in Jammu and Kashmir and ask them about their experience. On Monday, the delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval and were briefed about the situation.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill also questioned the government's move.

"If EU delegation visit to Kashmir can be facilitated by #BJP Govt then why can't Indian Leaders belonging to Opposition Parties visit #Kashmir ? Indians have to knock door of Supreme Court to visit Kashmir & EU delegation is welcomed by PMO, Why no level playing field?" he asked on Twitter.

Apart from the Congress, the Left parties also questioned the move.

CPI(M) general secretary asked why Indian political party leaders and MPs have been repeatedly prevented from exiting Srinagar airport.

“I was allowed to enter Srinagar only when the Supreme Court permitted over my habeas corpus petition. Even today Indian MPs are not allowed while Modi welcomes MEPs!" Yechury tweeted.

Yechury and CPI general secretary D Raja were not allowed to visit the state after the abrogation of Article 370 despite repeated attempts. Yechury was allowed to visit his ailing party colleague Yusuf Tarigami after the SC gave its go ahead on the condition that he would not be part of any political activity there.

"The fact that the Indian government is facilitating the visit of the EU delegation shows that this government is desperate and is under pressure to please the international community which has raised several questions on human rights violations in JK. The government is desperate to convince the global community. While it says everything is normal in the region, the ground reality is different," said Raja.

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