• Friday, February 03, 2023

INDIA

CPI Leader Seeks Modi Nod To Visit Kashmir

Indian security force personnel stand guard on a deserted road during restrictions after scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar, August 20, 2019 (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi).

By: Radhakrishna NS

CPI leader Binoy Viswam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, requesting that he be allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir since a foreign delegation was given a “red carpet” entry into the region.

A delegation of 23 European Union MPs arrived in Srinagar on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370.

“It is everybody’s question, why the government disallow any responsible Indian citizen, including Members of Parliament, to enter the territory of Kashmir. Now, the government has spread red carpet for the European Union MPs.

“In this background, I seek your permission to visit Kashmir and meet with the ordinary people,” Viswam said in his letter.

As an Indian citizen, it was his right to visit fellow citizens in Kashmir, he added.

“I earnestly hope that, you will take necessary steps to realise,” the CPI leader wrote.

Viswam’s letter comes amid demands from the Opposition that the government explain why Indian citizens and political parties were being denied entry into J-K while a foreign delegation’s visit was being facilitated.

The politburo of the CPI(M) said in a statement on Tuesday that it was an “affront” of the Indian Parliament and its sovereignty that Indian MPs and political leadership of national parties are denied the freedom of visiting the Valley while a “private visit” by foreign Parliament members was being allowed.

“Though it is claimed that this is a private visit, the prime minister has met them and they are also being briefed by the National Security Advisor.

“There can be no special privilege for a group of foreign parliamentarians to visit the Valley while it is denied to others, including our own MPs and national political leadership, with most of the known political leaders of the state continuing to remain in custody and detention,” the letter said.

During the two-day visit, the EU MPs are expected to be briefed by government officials on the prevailing situation in the Kashmir Valley as well as other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The team is also likely to meet a cross-section of people.

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