The Indian government should permit its own opposition leaders visit Jammu and Kashmir if it has allowed foreign leaders to do so, a member of the unofficial European Union delegation told news agency ANI.
“I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in Opposition politicians from India. There is some kind of disbalance; the government should somehow address it,” Nicolaus Fest of Alternative for Germany was quoted as saying by ANI.
In a press conference held after their visit, members of the delegation said they were not in the country to “interfere in politics”, but understand the situation by meeting the common people.
“We have no interest in Indian politics. We just wanted to meet the common people. Coming to Kashmir was a pleasant experience. Work is progressing in right direction here. People of Kashmir want peace and development. They want schools and hospitals,” they said.
A day after an attack in the Valley killed five workers from Bengal, the leaders said they understood that the state was plagued by terrorism. “All problems of Kashmir are linked to terrorism. We learn that terrorism coming from Pakistan,” they said, adding that “Indian politics is your problem, but terrorism is ours.”
The leaders said they would return to their countries and brief respective Parliaments on the situation. “We are here (in Srinagar) for a better understanding of your problems. A better understanding of the real situation is important to formulate a response.”
Several Indian Opposition leaders had criticised the government for allowing the EU delegation to enter the state but stopping them at the Srinagar airport. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the visit had been “totally sponsored by the government” and was “very insulting to the Indian Parliament and Parliamentarians”.
The European Union’s mission in Delhi has already distanced itself from the visit, saying these European lawmakers were travelling in their “personal capacity” and were not in India as an official EU delegation.