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Article 370 an internal matter, stand by India in fight against terror: EU MPs in Kashmir

Addressing a press conference on the second and last day of their visit to the Kashmir Valley, MEPs also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal by terrorists on October 29

October 30, 2019 / 12:40 PM IST
File image: PIB

File image: PIB

A group of European Union (EU) parliamentarians, who are visiting Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), said on October 30 that abrogation of Article 370 is India’s internal matter.

The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) also said that they stand by India in its fight against global terrorism.

Addressing a press conference on the second and last day of their visit to the Kashmir Valley, MEPs also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal by terrorists on October 29.

"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. There was an unfortunate incident of killing of five innocent labourers by terrorists. We condemn it," Henri Malosse from France, said.

He said the delegation received a briefing from the Army and police as well as young activists and exchanged "ideas of peace".

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Newton Dunn from the United Kingdom described the visit as an "eye-opener".

"We belong to a place 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 told reporters.

The delegation is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Centre to revoke the state's special status and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories (UTs) -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

According to MEP from Poland Ryszard Czarnecki, "The international media coverage seems biased".

"Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw," he said.

Thierry Mariani, also from France, told the media he had been to India many times and this visit was not to interfere in the internal matter of India but to get a first hand knowledge of the ground situation in Kashmir.

"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," he said.

"By calling us fascists, our image has been tarnished. It's better that one should know about us properly before tarnishing our image," he added, referring to some media reports.

The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, many from extreme right or right wing parties, but four did not travel to Kashmir and have reportedly returned to their respective countries, officials said without divulging any reason.

The team arrived in Srinagar on October 29 to a complete shutdown, stone pelting and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.

On October 28, a day before they left for Srinagar, the European lawmakers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.

PM Modi said their visit to J&K should give them a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

It is the first visit by a foreign delegation to the state after the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 in early August.

The initiative has been criticised by Opposition parties, J&K politicians and BJP’s ally Shiv Sena.

(With inputs from PTI)



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first published: Oct 30, 2019 12:27 pm
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