Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said that the EU MPs’ trip to Kashmir was “organised” and “sponsored” by the BJP government at the Centre to get a “report in favour of the government”.
“We take strong exception to this. This is totally sponsored by the government. And this is very insulting to the Indian Parliament and Parliamentarians. This is an insult to the entire democratic system. When a group of Indian Parliamentarians and Opposition leaders wanted to visit Kashmir and when we went all the way from Delhi to Srinagar, we were made to stay at the airport for hours and finally sent back,” Azad told The Indian Express.
“The media from Delhi is not allowed to go to Kashmir. Parliamentarians are not allowed… So while local leaders are either not allowed to move around in Kashmir or are behind bars and Opposition leaders are not allowed to visit Kashmir, parliamentarians of the EU, particularly right-wing MPs, are being sponsored. Behind all this is the government.”
Left parties, too, continued to target the government. CPI’s Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam wrote to PM Narendra Modi requesting that he be allowed to visit J&K since a foreign delegation was given a “red carpet’’ entry.
“It is reliably learned that the claims of the government and ground reality in Kashmir are poles apart. It is everybody’s question, why the government disallow any responsible Indian citizen including Members of Parliament to enter the territory of Kashmir…,” he wrote.
The CPM said in a statement, “The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly protests the visit of some Members of Parliament from various European countries with rightwing credentials to Kashmir valley orchestrated by the Modi government. It is an affront of the Indian Parliament…”
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior leader Anand Sharma also hit out at the government. “EU MPs representing parties and ideologies in direct conflict with the mainstream. Diplomatic disaster which ended up internationalising what is essentially our internal issue…” Sharma tweeted.
“European MPs allowed to visit and interfere in Kashmir, but when Indian MPs and leaders go there they are sent back from the airport. This kind of nationalism is very strange,” Priyanka tweeted.