NC ‘disappointed’, says envoys brought to endorse normalcy claims

Srinagar: The National Conference on Thursday said it was “disappointed” with the way the government brought envoys from various countries to Jammu and Kashmir to “endorse” its “claims of normalcy” in the union territory.
The party alleged that the envoys have been brought to the Valley on a “guided tour”, where access has been limited to “handpicked individuals who toe the government line”.
“The National Conference is disappointed with the way foreign envoys have been brought to the valley to endorse the Centre’s claims of normalcy,” it said.
Envoys from 15 countries, including US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster, arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the first visit by diplomats since August last year when the state’s special status was revoked and it was downsized to a union territory.
“The NC wishes to ask these envoys that if the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “normal”, then why are scores of people, including three former chief ministers, under detention for almost 160 days and why have the people been denied access to the internet for over 5 months?” a statement issued by the party said.
The party described the visit of enjoys from 15 countries to Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday as a “repeat visit” of the European Members of Parliament to the erstwhile state earlier.
The NC said while these visits may provide “short lived propaganda victories”, true normalcy will only be achieved when all detainees are released, communications and internet restored and “genuine” political activity resumed.
“While the rest of the country is told that peaceful dissent is the cornerstone of democracy, this right does not seem to extend to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Are the people of J&K expected to live without the fundamental rights accorded to other Indian citizens?” it said.
Officials said envoys of several countries had requested the government for a visit to Kashmir to get a first-hand account of the situation in the Valley following the August 5 decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 and bifurcate it into union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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