Regret killing of innocents in Kashmir, say EU lawmakers on J-K visit
A delegation of European Union parliamentarians, currently on a visit to Kashmir, said on Wednesday that they were in the Valley to find facts and not to interfere in Indian politics. They also condemned the killings of six non-Kashmiri labourers in Kashmir’s Kulgam on Tuesday, the day the 23-member delegation landed in Srinagar.
“We are your friends, we are here to find facts,” a member of the team said in an interaction with media persons. The members said that they had fascinating meetings with representatives of the civil society where issues ranging from re-opening of schools and corruption were discussed.
“We were briefed about the situation. The steps being taken are quite thorough. We would have liked to meet more people from civil society, but we understand the situation, and feel assured”, the EU lawmakers added.
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Underlining that they did not want Kashmir to become Syria or another Afghanistan, a delegation member said, “We support India in finding the best solution.”
The EU members answering a question on the mounting tension between India and Pakistan, said, “They should talk instead of fighting”.
Henri Maloose of France expressed shock saying that the delegates were being labelled as “Islamophobics”, “fascists” and “racists”. He thanked the Indian government for allowing them to visit Kashmir, and see things for themselves on the ground.
During their two-day long stay in Kashmir, the EU members of around 24 countries got a first-hand feel of the ground situation after the abrogation of J&K’s special status.
This is the first visit by any international delegation to the Valley after August 5, when Parliament passed resolutions and laws to scrap special status to the state and special privileges to its residents and split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. This was followed by communication lockdown and other restrictions in the Valley, some of which have since been lifted.
The arrival of the EU group triggered violent protests as people set up human blockades and shopkeepers shuttered businesses. At least four people were injured after security forces fired pellets on the protestors.