New Delhi: The Left parties and Congress on Monday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for allowing a European Union Parliament delegation to visit troubled Jammu & Kashmir, while many of Indian Opposition leaders were being prevented from doing so.
The visit of the 25 EU parliamentarians, who were briefed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, will begin on Tuesday. The government, however, claimed, the visit was ‘private’.
Modi on Monday told a delegation of European Union MPs that urgent action was needed against those supporting and sponsoring terrorism.
Hitting back at the Centre, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general-secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday tweeted: "Then why were Indian political party leaders and MPs repeatedly prevented from exiting Srinagar airport? I was allowed to enter Srinagar only when the Supreme Court permitted over my habeas corpus petition. Even today Indian MPs are not allowed while Modi welcomes MEPs!”
Yechury and Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja were not allowed to visit the state after the abrogation of Article 370 despite repeated attempts. Yechury was allowed to visit his ailing party colleague Yusuf Tarigami after the SC gave its go ahead on the condition that he would not be part of any political activity there.
"The fact that the Indian government is facilitating the visit of the EU delegation shows that this government is desperate and is under pressure to please the international community which has raised several questions on human rights violations in JK. The government is desperate to convince the global community. While it says everything is normal in the region, the ground reality is different," said Raja.
An Insult to Democracy: Congress
The Congress too questioned the government for allowing the delegation to visit J&K while preventing Indian leaders from going to the state, and claimed that it was an insult to India's Parliament and democracy.
Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh asked as to why the "chest-beating champion of nationalism", in an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Modi, has allowed European leaders to visit J&K.
"When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of J&K, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India's own Parliament and our democracy," he tweeted.
A delegation of the EU are set to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday to assess the ground situation there after abrogation of Article 370. They seek to talk to locals and ask them about their experience.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill also questioned the government's move.
"If EU delegation visit to Kashmir can be facilitated by #BJP Govt then why can't Indian Leaders belonging to Opposition Parties visit #Kashmir ? Indians have to knock door of Supreme Court to visit Kashmir & EU delegation is welcomed by PMO, Why no level playing field?" he asked on
The delegation includes Italy's Fulvio Martusciello, UK's David Richard Bull, Italy's Gianna Gancia, France's Julie Lechanteux, Czech Republic's Tomas Zdechovsky, Slovakia's Peter Pollak and Germany's Nicolas Fest.
In his article in the European Parliament's monthly newspaper last month, Zdechovsky said the abrogation of Article 370 will help in rooting out several terrorist organisations operating in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy also attacked the Union government over a European Union delegation's visit to Jammu and Kashmir, saying its members will visit the region in their private capacity which, he claimed, was a "perversion of our national policy".
He demanded that the visit should be cancelled.
"I am surprised that the MEA has arranged for European Union MPs, in their private capacity [Not EU's official delegation], to visit Kashmir area of J&K. This is a perversion of our national policy. I urge the government cancel this visit because it is immoral," Swamy said.
(with inputs from PTI)