03:13 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Indian Gov't Criticised for Allowing EU Delegation Into Kashmir While Denying Entry to Indian MPs

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A delegation of 27 European Union parliamentarians is visiting India’s restive Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday to assess the situation on the ground after New Delhi stripped the restive region of its special status in early August.

    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”.

    ​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.

    ​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. 

    ​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.


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