Tour being organised by external affairs ministry
Srinagar: A twenty member European delegation is arriving next week in Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory in the backdrop of maiden District Development Council (DDC) elections.
The delegation will arrive in Srinagar on February 17 and will interact with newly elected DDC members, representatives of political parties, trade leaders, social activists and journalists, reports said Friday.
Next day, the European envoy team will leave for Jammu to interact with DDC members, members of mainstream parties and social activities about the prevailing situation in J&K.
According to the sources, the tour is being organised by the external affairs ministry to project the recently concluded DDC elections in J&K as grassroot level empowerment of local population, news agency KNS reported.
Pertinently, this is the third foreign delegation of diplomats to arrive in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of erstwhile state’s special status by government of India on August 5, 2019.
In October 2019, as many as 23 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) belonging to right and far right parties visited Kashmir on a two day-visit organised by an NGO that promised a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Four months later, another batch of 25 foreign envoys visited J&K on February 12, 2020 as part of a union government-facilitated trip to help them have a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a region which had faced months of harsh restrictions after its special status was stripped of in August. A number of opposition parties had termed it a “guided tour”.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that the group would meet representatives of the civil society, including youths, political leaders, local businessmen during their visit to the union territory.
“As a part of the outreach efforts, visit of a second group of foreign heads of mission is being organised to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on February 12-13,” the MEA had said.