Foreign envoys arrive in Valley

Delegates raise local issues, arrest of ex-CMs with diplomats

SRINAGAR: A group of Delhi-based foreign envoys on Wednesday arrived in Kashmir to meet selective groups of people for accessing situation.
The group comprising 25 envoys was the third foreign delegation to visit the Valley since abrogation of Article 370 in August, 2019.
The envoys include heads of missions from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands and Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Envoys from Canada, New Zealand, Poland and African countries like Uganda, Namibia and Rawanda and Latin American countries of Guinea, Dominican Republic and Mexico were also part of the delegation.
The group arrived at the Srinagar International Airport following which they were taken amid security towards Dal Lake where they had a shikara ride. They met various delegations later at the Lalit hotel on the banks of the Lake.
During their two-day stay in J&K, the diplomats will also travel to Jammu, where they will meet Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu and civil society groups.
Ambassador from Dominican Republic Frank Hans Dannenberg was lavish in praise about the Kashmir beauty as soon as he ended his Shikara ride.
“We have been seeing Kashmir and it as a beautiful place. We are just here as tourists,” he said.
Tahir Qadiry, Ambassador from Afghanistan hinted about the improving situation in Kashmir, saying he came across people opening their shops and students going to schools.
“We are on a tour to Jammu and Kashmir just to get the first-hand account of situation. It was great to see people on way from airport opening their shops and students going to schools,” he said.
Qadiry said he had desired to visit Kashmir. “Everything is fine here. It is the part of the world I wanted to visit always. It is really great to see people here,” he said.
Delegations who met the delegates put forth issues of restoration of internet apart from other issues.
Senior BJP leader Khalid Jehangir told the delegates to advocate for the release of political leaders including three former chief ministers.
“Government of India knows sufferings of people of Jammu and Kashmir at administrative level. The more centre shows administration skills, the more wounds of people will get healed. Further, I pressed for immediate release of the detained leaders including Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti if there are no charges of corruption against them. Politicians also enjoy human rights,” he said.
Politicians including ex- Congress leaders Shoaib Lone and Usman Majeed also met the visiting delegation and raised the concerns in the backdrop of abrogation of Article 370.
The delegates visit comes barely a week after the government of India detained two former J&K chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, and four other politicians including two ex-ministers, under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Last month, diplomats from 15 countries visited Kashmir, in which many from EU countries had refused to take part.
Last year in October, another foreign delegation, comprising the far-right members of European parliament, which ran into controversy after being labelled as a “guided tour to showcase normalcy in Kashmir.”

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