The 23-member European delegation, on a fact-finding mission in Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday said that the entire controversy around its trip is wrong. Stating that the visit was not of political nature, the parliamentarians said that no report will be submitted to the EU as it was the members were not visiting the Valley in their official capacity. “We are Indian citizens and we want to be Indian like all other Indian citizens... want to have development like other parts of country, locals told us,” EU lawmakers said.
Unconfirmed reports say that it was a pre-recorded press briefing that was released to broadcast media on Wednesday. Though the lawmakers said that their visit was not an attempt to interfere in the internal matters of India, however, they added that both New Delhi and Islamabad must talk to ease the tension in the region. Adding that they were not able to meet many people, the lawmakers further said, "Had fascinating meetings with representatives of civil society... We are here to get facts and information, been an excellent visit." "Good to have a first glance about the situation (in Kashmir)... hope next time we have more contact with civil society," a EU lawmaker said.
Meanwhile, security has been heightened in Kashmir following the terror attack in Kulgam district that left five labourers from West Bengal dead, even as a complete shutdown disrupted normal life across the valley on Wednesday, officials said. The terror attack came at a time when a delegation of parliamentarians from the European Union is in Kashmir to talk to locals and ask them about their experience after abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. Five migrant labourers in Kulgam district of south Kashmir were shot dead by terrorists on Tuesday night. Another labourer was injured and has been shifted to a hospital here. Clashes also broke out at several places in Kashmir on Tuesday, leaving several persons injured.
Official said security personnel along with a flying squad have been deployed in several areas of the city and across the valley, especially in South Kashmir. The officials said random checking of vehicles and frisking of people was being done as part of the security drill.