Foreign Envoys on a Visit to Kashmir, EU Refuses to Join ‘Guided Tour’

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Since August Kashmir is reeling under digital siege and security lock-down after the Indian government stripped Kashmir of its special constitution protection. — Photo: Mohammad Abu Bakr

The EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to J&K at a later date, govt sources said.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — The European Union nations have reportedly said that they will not be part of a delegation of 15 diplomats visiting Jammu and Kashmir under a “guided tour” curated by Indian government on Thursday even as diplomats from countries like USA have agreed to be part of the delegation.

The government, however, said that the EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to the region at a later date.

It has been reported that some EU Ambassadors didn’t want to be part of the group of envoys visiting J&K due to certain restrictions in the programme and rather wanted to meet the people they wanted to interact with.

The countries include the US, Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, the Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru.

As things stand now, envoys from around 17 countries will be travelling to J&K on Thursday where they will meet civil society members and will be briefed on the security situation in the newly-formed Union Territory.

Since August Kashmir is reeling under digital siege and security lock-down after the Indian government stripped Kashmir of its special constitution protection and arrested thousands to prevent people from rising up against the decisions imposed. The actions of the government drew unprecedented global attention. The US congress held special sessions urging India to restore rights and services in Kashmir.

In October 2019, a delegation of European Parliamentarians had visited the Valley, which invited massive criticism as the delegates were not free to interact with people in general. Moreover, the NGO that made the tour possible was alleged to be conducting the tour at the behest of the government.

The sources in the government said that it wanted to take a global group of envoys to J&K with only some EU Ambassadors, and not all EU envoys were asked to join.

“EU envoys welcomed this initiative by the government. However, EU envoys wanted to visit J&K as a group, which was not possible to accommodate due to restrictions in numbers and to keep the group broad-based.

“Some EU Ambassadors conveyed that the visit was taking place at a short notice. The group was free to interact with people subject to security considerations. In any case, no Ambassador had specifically asked to meet anyone who was detained.

“It was therefore decided that a group of EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to J&K at a later date,” the government sources said.

 

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