Delimitation Process On, Polls After: J&K LG Tells Foreign Envoys

The envoys had reached Srinagar on Wednesday, 17 February.

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India
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A group of foreign envoys met Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhavan in Jammu. including those from the European Union, as part of their two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

The envoys had reached Srinagar on Wednesday, 17 February.

Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha, according to ANI, said at his meeting with the envoy that the “delimitation process is on”, following which elections will be conducted in the union territory in a “fair and free manner.”

“PM and Home Minister have assured the country that after delimitation process is completed assembly elections will be held. After Delimitation Commission finishes its work, I assure, elections will be conducted in a fair and free manner.”
Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha

The foreign envoys from 24 nations also interacted with Mayor of Srinagar, DDC chairpersons, BDC chairpersons and Municipal Council chairpersons from all parties.

They also praised the conduct of elections in a secure environment, while adding that grassroots democracy will strengthen them.

The Indian representatives appealed to the delegation to extend cooperation to India and participate in the growth and development of J&K.

Envoys from 24 nations, including France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, EU, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Italy, are part of the delegation visiting J&K. They are scheduled for travelling to Jammu on Thursday.

What’s in Store for Envoys?

Officials say the envoys will receive first-hand information on the development work undertaken by the administration of the Union Territory after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019, PTI reported.

On their arrival, they were driven to Budgam district’s Magam block, where they interacted with some locals. There, they were briefed on Panchayati Raj and grievance redressal through ‘Back to Villages and Block’ programme, when administration goes to the doorstep of civilians, news agency ANI reported.

The report added that the the foreign envoys' delegation that is visiting the Union territory was briefed by the Indian Army and the J&K Police in Srinagar. The Army told the envoys that “there has been no loss of life in action by security forces after the abrogation of Article 370, a decrease in incidents of stone-pelting, peaceful DDC elections, and 44 Army Goodwill schools having 10,000 students in J&K & Ladakh”.

The envoys were also informed about the infiltration from LOC and the Army’s role in making terrorists surrender. They were briefed about Pakistan Army’s support for supplying weapons that have been seized and training camps set up for infiltration, stated the report.

On Thursday, the second day of the envoy’s visit, they will be taken to meet with the Chief Justice of J&K High Court and with J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhavan. The group also met Mayor Junaid Mattu and visited the Hazratbal shrine, reported Hindustan Times.

Foreign envoys interact with Budgam: Panchayat representatives at Magam block.
Foreign envoys interact with Budgam: Panchayat representatives at Magam block.
(Photo: PTI)

DDC Chairman of Budgam Nazir Ahmad Khan as well as other DDC members met with the envoys. “It's been a month since we assumed our posts and we received the opportunity to interact with the foreign delegation. We interacted about our development schemes, work done and work which remains to be done,” he said, reported ANI.

This is the third envoy visit organised by the state since J&K lost its special status.

Like the previous two visits, envoys from Europe and Africa will meet government officials, members of civil society groups, and businesspersons to assess the UT’s ground situation.

The officials also said that strengthening of democratic institutions at the grassroots level would be significantly highlighted, as the envoys will take a look at a presentation on a how panchayats have been empowered by giving them financial powers, PTI reported. This visit comes following the completion of the District Development Council elections.

Another DDC chairperson from Srinagar, Aftab Malik of Apni Party said, “Our meeting with them has already been scheduled,” Hindustan Times reported.

The visiting group will also be meeting delegations at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre on the banks of Dal lake and a hotel, and a meeting with a group of journalists has also been scheduled.

Shops and businesses remained closed in most parts of Srinagar without any groups calling for the closure due to the envoys’ visit, reported NDTV.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI and Hindustan Times.)

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