New Delhi: The opposition parties have slammed the government's move to allow a delegation of European Parliamentarians to visit Kashmir. In fact, the first dissenting voice came from within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) itself. The Congress also reacted sharply to the government's decision.
Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill tweeted, "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?"
Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is in detention, also questioned the decision. She tweeted, "In its desperation to convince international community that normalcy's restored in Kashmir, GOIs making incessant foreign policy gaffes. From endorsing a Republican as US President to engaging with what seem like pro fascist, right leaning and anti immigrant EU MPs. Royal mess."
In an embarrassment for the government, the ruling BJP's outspoken Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy on Monday slammed the decision to allow a delegation of Members of European Parliament to visit Kashmir and demanded its cancellation.
Swamy described the move as a "perversion" of the country's policy.
The delegation of European Parliamentarians will be travelling to Kashmir on Tuesday, nearly three months after the state's special status granted under Article 370 was abolished and the state bifurcated into two Union Territories.
This will be the first foreign delegation to visit Kashmir since the abrogation of Art 370.
"I am surprised that the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) has arranged for European Union MPs, in their private capacity (not the EU's official delegation), to visit Kashmir area of J&K. This is a perversion of our national policy. I urge the Government to cancel this visit because it is immoral," Swamy tweeted.
On Monday, the delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed the hope that its members, during their visit to Jammu and Kashmir, would get a "better understanding" of the region and "a clear view" of the Government's development and governance priorities there.
The Government has barred many leaders from visiting the state. Even Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was sent back from the airport. Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had to take permission from the Supreme Court to visit Kashmir Valley.