Row over nod to EU group’s J&K visit
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said nationalism of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is strange, allowing European MPs to visit and interfere in Kashmir while Indian MPs are sent back.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 01:46 IST
The Congress on Tuesday claimed that the Narendra Modi government had taken a group of European Union lawmakers on a “conducted tour” of Kashmir, but denied permission to Indian parliamentarians to visit the Valley in the aftermath of its August 5 decision to strip J&K of its special status. It also termed this move a “national embarrassment” .
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the nationalism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is strange, allowing European MPs to visit and interfere in Kashmir while Indian MPs are sent back from the airport. “European MPs allowed are to visit and interfere in Kashmir, but when Indian MPs and leaders go there they are sent back from the airport. This kind of nationalism is very strange,” Priyanka tweeted in Hindi.
Her party colleague, Anand Sharma, said the government has embarked on an “ill-advised PR exercise, sponsoring individuals with questionable” credentials.
“EU MPs representing parties and ideologies in direct conflict with the mainstream. Diplomatic disaster which ended up internationalising what is essentially our internal issue. National embarrassment. Those responsible should be held accountable,” Sharma said in a series of tweets.
A 23-member delegation of EU parliamentarians reached Kashmir on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation after the state’s special status was revoked on August 5.
Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said he did not have any objection to EU parliamentarians visiting Kashmir but was opposed to the government not allowing Indian MPs to visit the state. “This is an insult to Indian Parliament by allowing the members of EU to visit Jammu and Kashmir. This is also an insult to the people, of whom they are representatives.”
Azad said a delegation of opposition leaders tried to go to Srinagar, but had to return after waiting for four hours at the airport.
Hitting back, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: “Who has stopped Congress leaders from going to the state when the situation has normalised?...”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress have distanced themselves from their leaders, Muzuffar Hussain Beigh and Usman Majeed respectively, who met the EU delegation in New Delhi at a lunch organised by national security advisor Ajit Doval. “I told the delegation that modus operandi to resolve the Kashmir issue lies in Simla Agreement which was signed by two countries,” Beigh said, adding he didn’t discuss the current situation in the Valley. J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said: “He (Majeed) met them in his personnel capacity. This is in violation of the party guidelines.”