New Delhi, Oct 29 : A delegation of European parliamentarians landed in Srinagar on Tuesday even as there has been large scale criticism from the opposition parties on the move.
BJP leader in Jammu and Kashmir Ravindra Raina welcomed the central government's move to allow the visit of the delegation. "I welcome the move as Pakistan propaganda will be exposed.....," said Mr Raina. One of the visiting delegates said: "....This visit is very important for us".
Another delegate said the visit will give them the right picture of the scene vis-a-vis the 'stereotype' image of the Kashmir valley. "Yeh Kaisi sarkar hae doston.....(What kind of government we have in the country, which has faith on outsiders but this nationalist government had denied such permission to leaders in the country)," Congress spokesman Abhishekmanu Singhvi tweeted joining several other opposition leaders.
But from the government side it has been given out that the delegation visit is a major diplomatic outreach to counter Pakistan's narrative and propaganda on the perceived tension in the valley and to give them a clear view of India's development and governance priorities.
On Monday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "MPs from Europe are welcome to go on a guided tour of Jammu & #Kashmir while Indian MPs are banned & denied entry. There is something very wrong with that." Ahead of their visit, Members of European Parliamentarian met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Monday.
Prime Minister said the visit should give the MPs a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Having told the US and other global players including China that that the government's move in Jammu and Kashmir was strictly an internal matter of India, Prime Minister has decided to give an extraordinary outreach push by allowing European lawmakers to visit J&K. Some countries have in the last three months raised concerns regarding the 'detention' of local residents and political leaders and also snapping of internet connections in Jammu and Kashmir.
A statement from Prime Minister's Office said on Monday that Mr Modi while welcoming the European delegation to India expressed the hope that they will have a "fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir".
BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has, however, opposed the delegation's visit saying allowing their tour would be "a perversion of our national policy". (UNI)