The Narendra Modi-led government has faced much flak for its decision to allow a delegation of foreign parliamentarians to visit Kashmir while denying access to Indian parliamentarians.
The ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Dr Subramanian Swami, who is a member of the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha has criticized the move as “a perversion of our national policy” and “immoral”.
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.— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) October 28, 2019
India’s main opposition Congress Party termed the move as “an outright insult to India's own Parliament and our democracy!”
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi slammed the government for allowing MPs from Europe to go on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir while denying entry to Indian MPs.
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! https://t.co/D48dnctRqE— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 28, 2019
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) alleged that the unofficial group of parliamentarians from the EU, that had connections with the BJP, were preferred over Indian political parties.
This unofficial group is overwhelmingly from ultra-right wing pro-fascist parties having relations with BJP. This explains why our MPs aren’t allowed but Modi welcomes them. 3 ex-CMs and 1000s others are jailed & this group of MEPs is preferred over Indian political parties? https://t.co/fGYdCwj87k— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 28, 2019
Prime Minister Modi, who met the delegation in New Delhi on Monday 28 October said, their visit should give them a better understanding of the “cultural and religious diversity of the region”.
New Delhi had denied permission to visit Jammu and Kashmir to Indian political leaders, since the repeal of Article 370 and 35A, which granted certain special status to the state. CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad visited the state after a directive by the Supreme Court of India.
New Delhi had also reportedly denied permission to US Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who claimed he was not given not cleared to visit by the Indian government, which claimed it was “not an appropriate time” to visit Kashmir.
Last week, the apex court had asked the federal government about the timeline for removing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. After considering several petitions, including those regarding the restrictions imposed in Kashmir, the court had wanted the government to review its decisions.
On the eve of the visit of the EU delegation, nine persons were injured in a grenade attack in Sopore in Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Last week, six security personnel were seriously wounded when a grenade was lobbed at a police station.