Terming the visit of European Union MPs to Jammu and Kashmir as a “PR exercise”, the National Conference on Tuesday said such “stunts” are not the answer to the situation in the region. “The visit of the selected EU MPs, largely of a particular ideology, is clearly a PR exercise. It is ironical that European MPs are visiting the Valley when the state’s leaders including three former Chief Ministers, are incarcerated for nearly three months now, and hundreds of others are in jails across the country,” the NC said in a statement.
The party said the Centre should take “concrete steps” to resolve the issue in the state.
“What the people of Kashmir think of the MPs’ visit is very clear from an intensified shutdown in the Valley today,” it said.
This is the first high-level foreign delegation visiting Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Central government announcing the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and the decision to bifurcate the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
There was a complete shutdown in the city and at least four people were injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in various parts of the Valley and in Srinagar, officials said.
On Monday, the members of the European Parliament met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. While welcoming the MPs to India, he “expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, apart from giving them a clear view of the development and goverment priorities of the region,” a PMO statement said.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who hosted a lunch for the visitors, also gave them an overview of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
A few weeks ago, a senator of the United States was denied permission to visit Kashmir.
A joint delegation of opposition MPs, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, undertaking a visit to Kashmir about two months ago, was not allowed to go beyond the Srinagar airport after their arrival from Delhi and were sent back to the national capital.