The group condemns Tuesday’s attack on migrant labourers, supports Delhi in its fight against terrorism
EU delegates were briefed by the Army and the police, and exchanged ‘ideas of peace’ with activists
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday backed India on its stance against terrorism, condemning the targeted killing of six migrant labourers a day earlier.
The group, which addressed a press conference in Srinagar on the last day of their two-day visit, also supported India’s position on the revocation of Article 370 as an internal matter. They said they had spoken to some groups of people during their visit who had expressed a desire for peace and development.
“If we talk about Article 370 it is India’s internal matter," said Henri Malosse from France.
“What concerns us is terrorism, which is a global menace, and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of the killing of five innocent labourers by terrorists. We condemn it," Malosse said.
Terrorists shot five migrant labourers in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday. A sixth labourer succumbed to injures on Wednesday. All were from West Bengal.
Malosse said the team got a briefing from the army and police, as well as from young activists, and exchanged “ideas of peace".
The international media coverage of Indian curbs imposed in the region seemed biased, said Ryszard Czarnecki of Poland. “Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw," he said.
On criticism in the Indian media that the MEPs belonged to right-of-centre parties, Thierry Mariani said: “By calling us fascists, our image has been tarnished. It’s better that one should know about us properly before tarnishing our image."
“Terrorists can destroy a country. I have been to Afghanistan and Syria and I have seen what terrorism has done. We stand with India in its fight against terrorism," Mariani said.
The delegation is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the 5 August revocation of the state’s special status.
The arrival of the MEPs coincided with a shutdown, stone pelting, and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Kashmir Valley, news agency PTI reported. Terrorists also fired at a bullet-proof mobile bunker of the Central Reserve Police Force in Pulwama but there were no casualties.
In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the government had “insulted India’s Parliament and democratic spirit" through the move. “The truth is that this is the biggest diplomatic blunder in India’s history. The Modi government has deliberately internationalized the Kashmir issue, violating our time-tested policy of Kashmir being an internal matter of India," he said.
“The Modi government has committed a grave sacrilege by introducing a third party to assess the ground situation in Kashmir and that also through an unknown think tank. By doing so, the government has caused an affront to India’s sovereign right over Jammu and Kashmir," Surjewala added.
Anuja contributed to this story.
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