A delegation of European Union parliamentarians, who are currently visiting Kashmir, said they were “friends” of India and were in the Valley to “find facts”, even as one of the members insisted that the Centre allow opposition leaders to visit the state to assess the situation on the ground.
Condemning the killing of five non-locals in Kashmir’s Kulgam on Tuesday, the day the team arrived in the Valley, EU member Bill Newton Dunn told media persons: “Last night’s incident was terrible. It should never happen.”
Dunn added: “We are here to find out facts. We are your friends and want to help you. We want to see how we can help in bringing peace here. We have been here to get facts and information and our visit was excellent.”
Another leader, Thierry Mariani from France, said the delegation was in J&K as “I know that terrorists can destroy a country. I have been to Syria, Afghanistan. Terrorism is a problem worldwide”.
This is the first visit by any international delegation to the state after August 5, when Parliament scrapped the state’s special status and split it into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh. The “unofficial” trip came under Opposition fire as parties questioned why an EU panel was allowed to visit the state, while not letting leaders like Rahul Gandhi.
The Opposition concern was highlighted by Nicolaus Fest, a part of the delegation, who said the government should allow opposition leaders to visit the Valley. “I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in opposition politicians from India. So there is some kind of dis balance, the government should somehow address it.”