MPs' J&K visit 'ill-advised PR exercise": Opposition

MPs' J&K visit 'ill-advised PR exercise": Opposition

Members of European Union Parliamentary delegation during a shikara ride at Dal Lake in Srinagar, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Protest broke out in many parts of the city as European Union MPs visited the valley. (PTI Photo)

Congress on Tuesday slammed the visit of a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEP) to Kashmir as an “ill-advised PR exercise” amid reports that it was organised by an “international business broker.”

Congress stepped up attack on the Modi government accusing it of internationalising the Kashmir issue by facilitating the visit of a group of European parliamentarians at a time when there were restrictions on the movement of Indian politicians in the J&K.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma described the visit by the group of MEPs to Kashmir as a “national embarrassment” and demanded that those responsible should be held accountable.

“The government embarked on an ill-advised PR exercise, sponsoring individuals with questionable credentials,” Sharma, the deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha said as reports from London claimed that the visit was planned by an organisation Women's Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT) helmed by Madi Sharma, who described herself as an “international business broker” and “education entrepreneur”.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain hit back at the opposition saying that their remarks reflected their “frustration” over the failure of their “propaganda about the situation” in Kashmir.

“Who has stopped Congress leaders from going to the state when the situation has normalised. Rahul Gandhi can go there. If any leader wants to go, there is no problem. He can take a flight. If some parliamentarians of the European Union are going, it is good as we have nothing to hide,” said Hussain, a former Union Minister.

Chris Davies, a MEP representing Britain's Liberal Democrats, issued a statement in London claiming that he too had received an invitation from WESTT to visit Kashmir and meet Modi, but the same was withdrawn after he insisted on being able to move around freely.”

Congress leaders also questioned the ideologies of a section of the MEPs visiting Kashmir, contending that they represented the far-right parties in Europe.

“EU MPs representing parties & ideologies in direct conflict with the mainstream. A diplomatic disaster which ended up internationalizing what is essentially our internal issue,” Anand Sharma, a former Union Minister said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took potshots at the Modi government saying its version of nationalism was “unique”

“This nationalism is unique. You allow European Parliamentarians to tour and intervene in Kashmir, but send back Indian leaders from the airport itself,” Priyanka said on Twitter.

BSP supremo Mayawati also expressed displeasure over the visit of the MEPs to Kashmir.

“It would have been better had the government allowed Indian Parliamentarians, particularly those from the opposition, to visit J&K to assess the situation after the abrogation of Article 370, instead of allowing lawmakers from Europe,” Mayawati said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox