US Envoy Among 17 Foreign Diplomats Visiting Kashmir

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A delegation of 17 foreign envoys arrive in Srinagar to take stock of the ground situation in the Kashmir Valley, on Thursday. US ambassador Kenneth I. Juster is also a part of the delegation. — Photos: IANS

Foreign envoys’ J&K visit attempt to normalise clampdown in valley, says PDP daring the Centre to allow the dignitaries to meet the detained political leaders.

SRINAGAR — A delegation of 17 foreign envoys reached Srinagar on Thursday to take stock of the ground situation in the Kashmir Valley, reports IANS.

The members were taken to the Army’s 15 core headquarters in Srinagar from the airport, where they would be briefed about the security situation in Kashmir by top Army commanders.

US ambassador Kenneth I. Juster, who is a part of the delegation of foreign envoys in Srinagar.

Later the delegation will be meeting the members of civil society at a hotel in the city.

Some politicians, including former legislators are also scheduled to meet the delegation.

Purportedly, some envoys from the European Union have chosen not to be part of the delegation this time.

A delegation of 17 foreign envoys arrive in Srinagar.

However, according to reports the US ambassador Kenneth I. Juster is also a part of the delegation.

This is the second foreign delegation visiting Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

In October, a European Parliamentary delegation had come to Kashmir, but questions were raised as to why an Indian parliamentary delegation was not allowed to visit the valley.

Among the prominent political leaders, who are to meet the envoys are members of a group of senior politicians, who recently met the Lieutenant Governor on Tuesday in Jammu.

A delegation of 17 foreign envoys on arrival in Srinagar.

The group led by Altaf Bukhari, a former Peoples Democratic Party minister had said: “They are looking for achievable options for reviving political activity in Kashmir and moving beyond Article 370.”

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said the visit of envoys of various countries to Jammu and Kashmir was an attempt by the government to “normalise its clampdown” in the Valley, daring the Centre to allow the dignitaries to meet the detained political leaders.

“Today that @PMOIndia lets a 2nd batch of envoys to “see” the situation in #Kashmir, it only seems like an attempt to normalize the Govts own clampdown. The dare is on @PMOIndia will they ever let these Foreign Envoys meet political detainees who are jailed since 160 days now?” the PDP said on its official Twitter handle.

The envoys, who are here as part of the government’s diplomatic outreach to rebut Pakistan’s propaganda on the Kashmir issue, met some political leaders, including former PDP leader Syed Altaf Bukhari, soon after their arrival, reports PTI.

The PDP, commenting on a meeting of breakaway leaders of the party led by Bukhari with Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu earlier this week, said the government “jails those who aided its democracy and strings up puppets who are ready to bargain at the cheapest price”.

“The government should understand that those who really love Kashmiri soil are not for sale!” it said.

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