BJP Allies Question Govt Decision to Allow EU MPs to Visit Kashmir
JD(U) and Shiv Sena questioned if it did not go contrary to India’s policy against internationalising the issue.
The Opposition has heavily criticised the government’s decision to allow a delegation of 23 EU parliamentarians to visit Jammu and Kashmir for a first-hand assessment of the situation in the region, following the abrogation of Article 370.
However, two allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party – Shiv Sena and the JD (U) – also criticised the government over the visit, news agency PTI reported.
Allies Question Govt’s Decision
BJP ally Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday, 30 October, questioned the government's decision to allow such a delegation of EU parliamentarians to Kashmir, wondering if it was contrary to India's policy against internationalising the issue.
“There are several contradictions in the visit. On the one hand India is against internationalising the issue but on the other hand we have allowed a visit by these parliamentarians in their personal capacity. Was it an appropriate time? What is the criteria for selecting these members," JD(U) spokesperson and former diplomat Pavan Varma said.
Varma also noted the EU delegation visited Kashmir when Indian ministers of Parliament were not allowed to do so. He said the government should take steps to normalise Kashmir at the earliest.
Meanwhile, an editorial in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana asked how the EU delegation's visit wasn’t an "external invasion" of India's independence and sovereignty, PTI reported.
When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was still criticised for taking the issue to the United Nations (UN), why were the EU parliamentarians allowed to visit Kashmir, the editorial asked.
However, the Sena also praised the Modi administration for having won the fight against "Pakistan-sponsored terrorism" by revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
Opposition Lashes Out
The Congress on Wednesday called the EU MPs’ visit the "biggest diplomatic blunder" in India's history, accusing the government of deliberately internationalising the issue, PTI reported.
“The truth is that this is the biggest diplomatic blunder in India’s history. The Modi government has deliberately internationalised the Kashmir issue, violating our time tested policy of Kashmir being an internal matter’ of India.”Randeep Surjewala, Congress Spokesperson
The Communist Party of India also questioned why Indian leaders were not allowed to visit the Valley. The party’s general secretary D Raja, according to PTI, said he tried to visit Kashmir twice but was detained and sent back.
He asked the government to explain the purpose of the visit, and reveal the political affiliations of the delegation members.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Twitter questioned how an "international business broker", who allegedly organised the private visit, has access to the Prime Minister's Office, while the farmers and unemployed youth do not.
Surjewala claimed the members of European Parliament were brought to India by a "nondescript" think-tank with "questionable" credentials to meet with Prime Minister Modi, visit Kashmir and hold a press briefing.
One of the EU MP’s part of the delegation, Nicolaus Fest, also said that Opposition politicians should be allowed into Kashmir.
“I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in Opposition politicians from India. So there is some kind of disbalance, the government should somehow address it,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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