“Important to lift restrictions swiftly in Kashmir”: EU spokesperson

Srinagar:India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but it is important to lift the remaining restrictions swiftly, the European Union said on Friday, following the latest visit by a group of foreign diplomats to the union territory under lockdown since August, reported NDTV.

Diplomats Visit: The Complete Story

According to a report published by NDTV, diplomats from 25 nations – including some from the European Union – visited Srinagar and Jammu for two days this week to survey the situation in Jammu and Kashmir six months after the centre ended the state’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.

The group included envoys from Germany, Canada, France, Italy and Poland, New Zealand, Mexico, Afghanistan, Austria, Uzbekistan, as well as envoys from the European Union, the report said.

“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,” a statement from the European Union said on Friday.

“While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly,” the statement from Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy added.

The visit, organised by the government, had been criticised by opposition parties in India who were stopped in the early days of the lockdown from visiting Jammu and Kashmir.

It was the second group of foreign envoys whose visit was facilitated by the government after the big announcement in August. Along with the announcement, the government had placed a series of restrictions on the state, saying they were preventive measures for a possible backlash. Six months on, some of them were still in place, including the ban on cellphone internet that raised concern abroad.

Last week, charges under the tough Public Safety Act were brought against former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have been under detention since August.

Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, who handles her Twitter account, slammed the visit, saying: “How lovely! Kim Jong Un would be proud of such orchestrated diplomacy.”