Stand with India in its fight against terrorism: EU MPs

Last Updated 30 October 2019, 17:20 IST

A delegation of European Union MPs Wednesday termed revocation of Article 370 as India’s internal matter and said “terrorism is a severe problem in Kashmir” and they stand with India in fighting it.

The MPs, after concluding two-day visit to Kashmir, addressed a selected group of journalists at Srinagar’s Old Airfield. Most of the local journalists were not invited for the presser.

“If we talk about Article 370 it is India's internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it,” they told reporters.

Those MPs who addressed the press were Bill Newton Dunn from the UK, Henri Maloose from France, Ryszard Czarnecki from Poland and Mariana Thierry from France.

They said that they interacted with youth, politicians, women and traders during their two-day stay in Kashmir and termed it a “beginning of their engagement” with the civil society in the erstwhile State.

“We are here to get information. The situation is not as bad as we thought. People here want peace, better life and better vocations, and want jobs. Terrorism has destroyed such dreams,” they said.

The visiting parliamentarians while regretting the killing of six non-locals laborers by militants in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday evening said, “Terrorism is a severe problem in Kashmir” and named Pakistan as its source.

The lawmakers were mainly from far-right parties with only three of the 27 MPs belonging to the Left or liberal parties. All of them are visiting India in their private capacity.

Newton Dunn said they belong to Europe which is peaceful after years of fighting. “And we want to see India becoming the most peaceful country in the world. And for that we need to stand by India in its fight against global terrorism. This visit has been an eye opener and we would definitely advocate what we have seen on ground zero,” he said.

Referring to the details provided to them by the Army and the police, he said, “Most terrorists killed in J&K have come from abroad, in fact they came from Pakistan. It is an international problem. All protests should be directed against terrorism.”

Ryszard Czarnecki, an MP from Poland, said, “The international media coverage [on Kashmir] seems to be biased. Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw,” he said.

The MPs also criticised Pakistan for violence against the Christian community there. “We trust in freedom of religion. We are worried about the situation of Christians in Pakistan,” they said, while mentioning the case of Asiya Bibi.

Earlier, the visiting MPS were briefed by Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and police chief Dilbag Singh about the prevailing situation in Kashmir. They also interacted with some newly-elected panchayat members and councilors during their stay in Srinagar.

However, no prominent civil society group, trade body or mainstream Kashmiri political party could meet the lawmakers. This was the first time an international team was allowed to visit Srinagar since the Parliament scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories on August 5.

(Published 30 October 2019, 13:44 IST)

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