In a recent upheaval of events in Kashmir, a delegation of around 23 ministers from various European countries are visiting the state. This is the first time that the Indian government has allowed foreign delegation to visit Jammu and Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370.
As per reports, the delegation first met PM Modi in his residence at Delhi where National Security Advisor Ajit Doval briefed them about Kashmir. But amidst all this, this step by the government is being criticised by various political leaders. Hashtags have also started trending on twitter. But why? What is so wrong about a foreign delegation visiting the “normal” Kashmir? Read on to know:
Here are some of the reasons why this visit by the European Parliamentarians is “not right”
Majority of Delegation Represent Right-Wing Parties
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 among others.
As per the reports of Indian Express, the majority of the delegation members are from the right-wing parties in the UK, Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The MPs are “broadly against anti-immigration in Italy, in favor of Brexit in the UK, and against migration and belong to Marine Le Pen’s party in France, and the far-right and anti-establishment Alternative für Deutschland in Germany.”
This choice of the parliamentarians is in itself quite questionable. It’s like a right-winged party is welcoming the members that follow similar ideology to “asses” its decision over a conflicting state.
Remarking on this, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury also tweeted:
Some other people also took to twitter, highlighting this “unusual” delegation:
No to Opposition and Yes to Foreign Delegation?
This is one of the major reasons why the ruling party is getting criticised for this Kashmir tour. In August, various political leaders from Opposition including Rahul Gandhi were denied entry into the state. Some leaders who flew to the state were also sent back from Srinagar by the administration.
Now, PM Modi has invited the bunch of delegates from other countries to “asses” the situation in the valley. Priyanka Gandhi called steps “a unique nationalism”
Rahul Gandhi also took to twitter saying there is something very wrong in this step:
A hashtag – #ये_कैसा_राष्ट्रवाद – highlighting this issue is also trending on the twitter:
Just a PR Stunt
It’s not us but the European Union which has called the delegate visit to Kashmir a “publicity stunt”. As per an article on the National Herald, the EU has distanced itself from the whole affair. The Kashmir-bound MEPs do not represent their countries or the European Union on this tour.
Such statements are making us question the reason why PM Modi has taken this step? Is this a way to give clean chit to the abrogation of Article 370 by the foreign delegations? Is this not an old trick to come out as transparent by having some independent foreign observers who are already right-winged visit a state struggling with lockdown for two months?
Double-Faced Take on Kashmir?
During the G7 summit in August, PM Modi clearly made remarks that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and there is no scope for any third-party mediation.” There are many bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,”
He said this while interacting with media along with American President Donald Trump.
Now fast forward to today. PM Modi himself addressed the delegation on a visit to Kashmir. As per PM Modi, the visit will help the delegation in getting a “better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region.”
First, the BJP said that Kashmir is an internal matter and now the party is itself making it an internationalized tour. It’s own MP Subramanian Swamy called out at this and described this move as a “perversion” of the country’s policy.
“I am surprised that the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) has arranged for European Union MPs, in their private capacity (not EU’s official delegation), to visit Kashmir. This is a perversion of our national policy. I urge the government to cancel this visit because it’s immoral,” Swamy tweeted.
If you look at the reports, it is being said that this is a private visit and not a part of an official EP delegation. So can we say that it is just a tour where some people are coming to visit Kashmir to learn its cultural importance when the state has been in silence? Well, it can be true, after all the government did allow tourism in the state in early October. Quite a nice way to encourage that step, isn’t it?