Why not to Jammu? NPP targets Centre over EU MPs visit

Members of a European lawmakers delegation are being transported towards a hotel during a lockdown in Srinagar on October 29, 2019. (AFP)

The National Panthers Party (NPP) on Tuesday attacked the Centre for clearing a EU delegation's visit to Kashmir alone, saying an "opportunity was lost" to draw the world attention towards the Jammu region.

A delegation of 23 Europian Union MPs, on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, arrived Srinagar on Tuesday to a complete shutdown and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.

"An impression is being sought to be created around the world that J&K means Kashmir alone to the neglect to Jammu region. And this is corroborated by the fact that the Centre has arranged the visit of EU team to Kashmir only," NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh said here.

The NPP also questioned the invitation to only three Kashmir-based leaders in New Delhi for a lunch hosted by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for the visiting EU delegation members on Monday.

He said the visit of the EU team to both the regions could have given a balanced view of the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir to the western MPs.

"No inference could be drawn without assessing the situation in both the regions of Kashmir as well as Jammu as one sided version would only lead to flawed, rather fatal conclusions."

Singh said the priority for EU delegation should have been the International Border in Jammu where the life of border dwellers has become a hell due to war like situation created by Pakistan.

Accusing the BJP of "double standards",  the NPP leader said "selective permissions" to delegations to visit Jammu and Kashmir amounted to "infringement of constitutional propriety".

While the outside parliamentarians were allowed to visit the Valley, the denial of permission to the Indian lawmakers was an "insult to Indian democracy and Parliament's sovereignty", he said.

Likewise, giving clearance to EU team while refusing the same to US senators also had raised many eyebrows at the national as well as international level, the NPP leader said.

Singh also questioned the invitation to three Kashmir-based leaders in New Delhi for holding interaction with the EU delegation while "not a single" leader of Jammu, which firmly supported scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir as an internal matter of India, was asked to participate in the meeting.

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