The Congress questioned the government on allowing European Parliament members to visit Jammu and Kashmir but preventing Indian leaders from doing so, claiming it was an insult to India’s democracy and “ultimate disrespect” to its sovereignty.
Party leader Rahul Gandhi said there was “something very wrong” with that. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said by allowing EU MPs to visit Kashmir and not allowing Indian MPs in the valley is an insult to India’s Parliament. He said Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India and “we will deal with it”. But he asked why the foreign MPs were made stakeholders in Kashmir.
MPs from Europe are welcome to go on a guided tour of Jammu & #Kashmir while Indian MPs are banned & denied entry.
There is something very wrong with that.https://t.co/rz0jffrMhJ
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 28, 2019
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh called European Union delegation’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir an “outright insult to India’s own Parliament and democracy” and sought to know why Indian political leaders were prevented from visiting the state after the abrogation of J&K’s special status.
Earlier on Monday, a delegation of over 25 European Union MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, ahead of their visit to the valley. This is the first time an international delegation will be visiting J&K after the government scrapped the state’s special status under Article 370. The delegation was briefed about the situation in J&K and cross-border terrorism emanating from across the border.
“When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of J&K, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India’s own Parliament and our democracy!” the Congress leader tweeted.
When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of J&K, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India’s own Parliament and our democracy! https://t.co/D48dnctRqE
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 28, 2019
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury who was part of a delegation of Opposition leaders who were denied permission to visit the valley, asked why Indian political leaders were “repeatedly prevented from exiting Srinagar airport?”
“I was allowed to enter Srinagar only when the Supreme Court permitted over my habeous corpus petition. Even today Indian MPs are not allowed while Modi welcomes MEPs!” he said.
Then why were Indian political party leaders and MPs repeatedly prevented from exiting Srinagar airport?
I was allowed to enter Srinagar only when the Supreme Court permitted over my habeous corpus petition. Even today Indian MPs are not allowed while Modi welcomes MEPs! #Kashmir https://t.co/S5vncmTUwd
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 28, 2019
The EU delegation’s visit comes days after six American lawmakers wrote to Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla seeking free access for foreign journalists and Congressmen to Kashmir.
Earlier this month, a key US Senator from the Democratic Party, Chris Van Hollen, was denied permission by the government to visit Kashmir to see the situation “first-hand”.
Opposition leaders, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, were also sent back from Srinagar airport amid a communication lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir following the Centre’s decision to modify Article 370 of the Constitution and divide the state into two union territories.
In September this year, the Supreme Court granted permission to Ghulam Nabi Azad, who represents Jammu and Kashmir in Rajya Sabha, to visit Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramullah and Jammu districts to inquire about the welfare of the people in the Valley.