‘Unofficial’ EU delegation to visit Kashmir today

European Union Embassy distances itself from visit

Srinagar: A European parliament delegation is arriving in Kashmir for a day-long ”unofficial” visit on Tuesday.
The EU Embassy in Delhi clarified that the Members of European Parliaments (MEPs) were in India in their “personal capacity” and not as part of an official delegation.
The visit has been arranged by a European NGO and 28-member delegation comprises from different EU member states including Italy, Britain, France, Germany, and Poland.
This is the first foreign delegation visiting Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5.
On Monday, the delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval also in Delhi.
“Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region”, a statement quoting Prime Minister issued by Press Information Bureau said.
In Delhi, they met a few mainstream leaders including senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig and winners of the Block Development Council polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Srinagar, the delegation is expected to meet selected people and fly out the next day.
The J&K government has prepared a presentation for the delegation.
Senior officers of J&K police will also brief the delegation about the situation in Kashmir and threat of militancy, sources said.
The visit to Jammu and Kashmir is being coordinated with the NSA’s office, The Hindu reported, as he has been the government’s point-person on the move to dilute Article 370 and bifurcate the state into Union Territories on August 5.
The EU Parliament in a meeting over Kashmir has urged the government of India to ease restrictions and release political prisoners.
In a speech, delivered on her behalf, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said the EU had taken up its concerns about “the situation on the ground, with its restrictions on fundamental freedoms,” directly with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar who visited Brussels prior to the meeting. “It is crucial that freedom of movement and means of communication are fully restored as well as access to all essential services,” the speech added.

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