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Foreign envoys in Jammu: Several civil society groups meet delegation, hail Article 370 abrogation

Labha Ram Gandhi, a leader of West Pakistan refugees, too, supported the August 5 decision, saying it ensures parity among all residents.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: February 14, 2020 7:23:35 am
Kashmir envoy visit, j&k envoy vist, J&K article 370, kashmir news, j&k foreign delegation visit, foreign envoys in J&K The delegation of envoys arrives at the High Court, in Jammu on Thursday. (PTI)

Members of several civil society groups in favour of the Centre’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status said the 25 foreign envoys, who were on a two-day visit to the newly created Union Territory, were shocked to hear about their conditions before the Centre’s August 5 decision.

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The groups said that they had told the envoys that successive governments in the erstwhile state took advantage of Article 370 to deny them permanent residency and block admissions to professional colleges and jobs, despite the fact that they had lived there “since generations”.

Kashmir envoy visit, j&k envoy vist, J&K article 370, kashmir news, j&k foreign delegation visit, foreign envoys in J&K For the third consecutive time — following foreign diplomats’ visits to the Valley in October 2019 and January this year — the same set of local politicians, journalists and traders met the envoys. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

“‘Is it so?”, some of them asked when we, in response to their query about our situation before the abrogation of Article 370, told them that we have been living here for past 200 years, but were not treated as permanent residents prior to August 5,” said Karun Gorka, president of a body that represents the Gorkha community.

Kashmir envoy visit, j&k envoy vist, J&K article 370, kashmir news, j&k foreign delegation visit, foreign envoys in J&K The diplomats are on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

“We told them how one Gagan Sahi, a member of the Gorkha community who won a gold for India in fencing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, could not get a job in the J&K government even though his family had lived here for generations. Later, he joined the Army,” said Manish Adhikar, president of the youth wing of the Gorkha community. “My brother is now a colonel, but he could not become a doctor as he was denied admission to MBBS as he did not possess a Permanent Resident Certificate.”

Kashmir envoy visit, j&k envoy vist, J&K article 370, kashmir news, j&k foreign delegation visit, foreign envoys in J&K Members of the delegation of foreign envoys in Srinagar on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

“We told them that we were enslaved and denied many rights due to Article 370 and post its abrogation, we have become free and now, our children will be eligible for admissions to professional colleges, get jobs and own land in J&K,” said Gharu Bhatti, a representative of the Valmiki Samaj.

Labha Ram Gandhi, a leader of West Pakistan refugees, too, supported the August 5 decision, saying it ensures parity among all residents.

Kashmir envoy visit, j&k envoy vist, J&K article 370, kashmir news, j&k foreign delegation visit, foreign envoys in J&K The second batch of 25 foreign diplomats, including those from Germany, Canada, France and Afghanistan, at Dal Lake in Srinagar Wednesday. (Express Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

The envoys were in Kashmir on Wednesday. Soon after their arrival in Jammu, they went to the High Court to meet Chief Justice Gita Mittal. Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu, his advisors Farooq Khan and K K Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary (Industries and Commerce) M K Dwivedi and DGP Dilbag Singh were among those who met the members of the delegation during the day.

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