A group of 27 European Union parliamentarians are set to visit Kashmir today, 29 October, to see the situation on the ground for themselves in the wake of Article 370’s abrogation.
Of these 27, a large majority of 22 are from right-wing parties in their own countries, while only two belong to centre-left parties. The remaining are from centre-right parties.
The skewed composition of the group was called into question by CPI(M) Chief Sitaram Yechury who wrote on Twitter that the lawmakers are “overwhelmingly from ultra-right wing pro-fascist parties having relations with BJP”.
Yechury was allowed to visit Kashmir, after getting the Supreme Court’s permission, to inquire about the health of his party colleague Tarigami. He was not allowed to attend any political meeting or interact with the media during his visit.
The EU lawmakers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Monday. The situation in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 was reportedly discussed.
“Their visit to J&K should give a better understanding of cultural and religious diversity of the region, apart from giving a clear view of development and governance priorities of region.”Narendra Modi, PM, India
22 of 27 Belong to Right-Wing Parties
The majority of EU lawmakers being allowed to visit Kashmir belong to right-wing parties, three belong to centre-right parties, and only two belong to centre-left parties.
The six French delegates all belong to the National Rally, a far-right nationalist party led by Marine Le Pen.
Similarly, all six Polish delegates belong to Law and Justice, a right-wing Conservative party. Four of the five British MPs allowed to visit belong to the far-right populist Brexit Party.
Vlaams Belang, Alternative for Germany and Vox have all be described as far-right parties.
Three MPs from Italy, Czech Republic and Slovakia belong to centre-right parties and the remaining two from the UK and Italy are with centre-left parties.
‘Violation of the Privileges of Indian MPs’
Congress leader and Member of Parliament Anand Sharma criticised the government’s decision to invite the EU parliamentarians to visit Jammu and Kashmir when Indian MPs and opposition leaders who visited were “detained and not allowed to meet any individual or community organisation”.
In a tweet, he said the move is a “disrespect to the sovereignty of the Indian Parliament and the violation of the privileges of Indian MPs”.
“When leaders of Opposition and Members of Parliament went to Srinagar, they were detained and not allowed to meet any individual or community organizations,” he wrote.
‘Hope They Get a Chance to Speak to the People’
Reacting to the development, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti said the delegation should get a “chance to speak to the people, local media, doctors and civil society members,” adding that the “iron curtain” needs to be lifted and the central government held responsible for the turmoil in the state.
Normal life continues to remain disturbed following the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August. While landline and postpaid mobile phone services have been restored across the Valley, all Internet services continue to remain suspended, reported PTI.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has also detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety act.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)