After J&K visit, EU wants India to lift remaining restrictions swiftly

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 14, 2020 10:25:07 pm

Second batch of 25 foreign diplomats visits Jammu and Kashmir to witness the ground situation in the region. Express Photo By Shuaib Masoodi

A day after the second batch of foreign diplomats concluded a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the European Union (EU) on Friday sought immediate lifting of existing restrictions in the Union Territory.

“The visit confirmed that the government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy. Some restrictions remain, notably on internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention,” said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly.”

Noting the “positive steps” initiated by the union government to restore normalcy in the region, Battu-Henriksson said the visit presented a “welcome opportunity” to see the situation on the ground and to interact with local interlocutors in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We look forward to continuing the dialogue with India on the situation in the region,” she said.

Read | Afghan envoy: Valley media urges govt to restore broadband

The visit was organised by the government to help the foreign envoys assess the situation in the region over six months after the Centre revoked its special status. The envoys represented Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Uzbekistan, the MEA stated.

Last month, the government had taken 15 envoys to J&K but the European countries had declined to be part of it. A group of 27 members from the European Parliament – most of them from far-right parties – had visited Kashmir in a government-facilitated trip in October last year. The EU had distanced itself from the trip, and had said that it was not an official trip.

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