04:21 GMT20 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A group of parliamentarians from the European Union (EU) have visited India’s restive Kashmir, the first international team to visit the region since New Delhi stripped its special status in early August. The team met with top civil, police, and military officers in the state to get a brief about the situation on the ground.

    After the conclusion of their visit and meetings, the team met a select group of mediapersons in Srinagar – the summer capital of the state on Wednesday and said, "We are not here to interfere in Indian politics”.  Mediapersons from Kashmir confirmed they were not invited or allowed at the press conference.

    Reports indicate, no member of civil society, trade body, or mainstream political party leader from Kashmir could meet the EU lawmakers.

    “We, the international delegation, fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror", said one of the members of the team.

    Ryszard Czarnecki, a parliamentarian from Poland told the media that the international coverage of the situation in Kashmir appears to be “biased”. “Once we go back to our countries, we will inform them of what we saw", Czarnecki said.

    Henri Malosse, a member from France said, he favoured India and Pakistan talking to resolve their differences on the issue. He also said that “Pakistan is funding terror groups” in Kashmir and condemned the killing of five workers on Tuesday (29 October).

    The group said they supported New Delhi’s fight against terrorism and that amending Article 370 of the Constitution of India to strip the state of its special status was “an internal matter of India”.

    India’s opposition parties have critised the government for hosting a foreign delegation of parliamentarians, while denying Indian opposition lawmakers the right to visit Kashmir to get a first-hand view of the situation there.

    India’s main opposition Congress Party termed the move “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.

    Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) alleged that an unofficial group of parliamentarians from the EU that has a good relationship with the BJP was preferred over Indian political parties. 

    Prime Minister Narendra 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”.


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    Pakistan, European Union, Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, India
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