September 20, 2020
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Not Here To Interfere In India's Internal Issues: EU MPs After Kashmir Visit

The EU MPs said they support India in its efforts for lasting peace in Kashmir.

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Not Here To Interfere In India's Internal Issues: EU MPs After Kashmir Visit
Members of European Union Parliamentary delegation during a shikara ride at Dal Lake in Srinagar on Tuesday.
PTI Photo
Not Here To Interfere In India's Internal Issues: EU MPs After Kashmir Visit

The members of the European Parliament, who are on a two-day visit to Kashmir, on Wednesday said they do not want to interfere into internal matters of India, referring to abrogation of Article 370.

However, they said the terror was a universal problem and they support India in its efforts to eliminate it. The group of 23 members of the European Parliament also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal by terrorists on Tuesday.

"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," said Henri Malosse from France.

The EU MPs were addressing the media in Srinagar to share their experience and observations in Kashmir.

The EU MPs said they support India in its efforts for lasting peace in Kashmir and thanked the Indian government for their hospitality.

Newton Dunn from the UK described the visit, aimed at getting a first-hand assessment of the situation after the revocation of the state's special status under Article 370, as an "eye-opener".

"We belong to a place in 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.

According to the NDTV, the media briefing excluded the Valley-based news outlets.

"We, the international delegation, fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror... We thank the Indian government and the local administration for their warm hospitality," one of the EU MPs said.

Another visiting EU MP, Nicolaus Fest, said the government should allow the opposition politicians from India to visit Kashmir.

"I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in opposition politicians from India. So if there is some kind of disbalance, the government should somehow address it," Fest told ANI news agency.

Thierry Mariani 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 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 it into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Wednesday is the last day of Jammu and Kashmir as a state.

On the first day of their unofficial Kashmir visit, the EU MPs met a delegation of civilians -- most of whom were villages heads from different districts -- and civil society members.

The interaction was hosted in posh Grand Lalit Palace that overlooks the Dal lake. The members of the civil society and the civilians were escorted by the security forces. The EU MPs also took Shikara rides in the lake and had lunch with the Indian Army in Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar.

During an interaction with the lawmakers from different European countries, DGP Dilbag Singh said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been peaceful and the security forces have been handling the law and order effectively and "most importantly in a humane manner".

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