New Delhi, October 29: The Opposition on Tuesday hit out at the Centre for allowing a 23-member delegation of European Union Members of Parliament to visit Kashmir to see first-hand the ground situation there, with the Congress calling it ‘a very unique sort of nationalism’.
The delegation reached Srinagar on Tuesday for a two-day visit during which they will be briefed on the situation by government officials and will also meet a cross-section of locals. Their visit to Kashmir was preceded by meetings on Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
This is the first visit by any international delegation to the Valley after August 5, when Parliament passed resolutions and laws to scrap special status to the state and special privileges to its residents and split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi hit out at Centre saying: “European MPs were allowed to travel to Kashmir and intervene, but Indian MPs and leaders were sent back from the airport as soon as they arrived! It is a very unique sort of nationalism (bada anokha rashtravaad hai yah.)”
This comes a day after former Congress president and Priyanka’s brother Rahul Gandhi expressed similar views and tweeted: “MPs from Europe are welcome to go on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir while Indian MPs are banned and denied entry. There is something very wrong with that.”
A joint delegation of opposition MPs, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, was not allowed to go beyond the Srinagar airport after their arrival from Delhi and were sent back to the national capital about two months ago.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the party would raise the issue in Parliament, adding India’s decision violates the collective privileges of its MPs. Inviting EU lawmakers to JK is the “ultimate disrespect” to Indian Parliament’s sovereignty, Sharma added.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said by allowing EU MPs to visit Kashmir and not allowing Indian MPs in the valley is an insult to India’s Parliament.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati also criticized the government move with a tweet in Hindi, “…before sending EU MPs to Kashmir to assess the current situation there, it would have been better if the government had allowed the MPs of (our) country, especially opposition parties, to go there.”
Detained People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti, whose twitter account is handled by her daughter Iltija, tweeted claiming that Valley witnessed a shutdown and stone pelting on Tuesday. (PTI)