After party colleague Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor today questioned the logic behind the central government allowing members of the European Union parliament to visit Jammu and Kashmir when local politicians were being prevented from doing so.
"My request, made during the Lok Sabha debate on Article 370, for an All-Party delegation of MPs to visit to see the situation for themselves, has still not been accepted. But members of the European Parliament can travel as our government's guests? What an #InsultToIndianDemocracy!" he tweeted.
My request, made during the LokSabha debate on Article 370, for an All-Party delegation of MPs to visit to see the situation for themselves, has still not been accepted. But members of the EuropeanParliament can travel as our Government's guests? What an #InsultToIndianDemocracy! https://t.co/uGwn9Op6y0— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 28, 2019
A delegation of 27 European Union MPs - 22 of whom belong to far-right parties - will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday to assess the ground situation there after the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 two months ago. They are expected to talk to locals in Jammu and Kashmir, and ask them about their experiences since August 5.
Jairam Ramesh had earlier wondered why the "chest-beating champion of nationalism" was allowing foreign leaders to visit Jammu and Kashmir -- an opportunity denied to Indian politicians. "When Indian political leaders have been prevented from meeting the people of Jammu and Kashmir, what possessed the great chest-beating champion of nationalism to allow European politicians to visit J&K. This is an outright insult to India's own Parliament and our democracy," he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had posed for a photograph with the delegation this morning, expressing the hope that the visit would enlighten them to issues related to Jammu and Kashmir. Hwever, many like former diplomat KC Singh were not convinced about the intent behind the visit, and claimed that PM Modi was "poorly advised" to allow politicians drawn from far-right parties of the European Union to visit the region.
Right-wing MEPs headed to J&K are welcomed with open arms. PM, poorly advised, poses with them. It is repeat of BJP's misstep in letting Kanda lead their Save-BJP-Operation in Haryana. Means ARE imp; not merely the ENDS.— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) October 28, 2019
Congress leader Manish Tewari was more sarcastic in his criticism. "Indian MPs should perhaps consider getting elected to European Parliament to be able to visit J&K..." he tweeted.
Arrested Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti, whose Twitter account is being manned by her daughter Iltija, also questioned the choice of leaders allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir. "If scrapping Article 370 integrated J&K into India, why is Shri Rahul Gandhi barred from visiting Kashmir? Instead, a group of far-right and fascist-leaning EU MPs is allowed by GOI. Your ticket to Kashmir is possible only if you're a fascist with a visceral hatred for Muslims," a tweet posted from her handle read.
If scrapping Article 370 integrated J&K into India, why is Shri Rahul Gandhi barred from visiting Kashmir? Instead, a group of far right & fascist leanings EU MPs is allowed by GOI. Your ticket to Kashmir is possible only if you're a fascist with a visceral hatred for muslims— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 28, 2019
A delegation led by former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was turned back from the Srinagar airport on August 25, days after the centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status. Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was also detained while trying to land at Srinagar the same month, with authorities claiming that allowing politicians to interact with locals could spark tensions in the region.
Another senior Congress leader, Randeep Surjewala, reminded the centre of India's long-held contention that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter. "When Jammu and Kashmir is ours, why are those from the European Union being let in? Moreover, why are those from our own country being prevented from visiting Jammu and Kashmir? This has exposed the reality behind the Modi government's false nationalism," he said.