NEW DELHI / SRINAGAR: The 26-member EU delegation visiting Kashmir on Tuesday met 15 groups of people, including a business delegation which told them about the huge losses they had suffered, a three-member women’s team which wanted better job opportunities, and group of young men who gave them a grim rundown of the ground situation.
The meetings took place amid a shutdown and stone throwing in different parts of Kashmir. Notably, not a single prominent face from the trading community or civil society members met the visiting EU delegation.
A youth, who was part of a delegation of young men, said they apprised the EU members of the ground reality in the Valley. He said the delegates were told that Article 370’s reading down is totally unlawful and unconstitutional.
Chris Davies, an MP of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrats Party, opted out of the visit saying he was “not prepared to take part in a PR stunt” for the Indian government. The visit also coincided with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressing concern over the Kashmir situation while urging Indian authorities to fully restore their human rights.
"We are extremely concerned that the population in Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
A youth, who was part of a delegation a of young men, said, “We also apprised the EU members about the arrest of youth and curbs imposed by the authorities after revocation of State’s special status.” One of the EU members told this newspaper that they visited Kashmir to ascertain facts and look into what kind of trouble is going on. They gave a patient hearing to the delegation and individuals.
A three member women delegation told the EU delegation that they want better job opportunities and conducive atmosphere for setting up of income generating units of prospective businessmen. The women delegation like most of the delegations hid their faces while entering and leaving the venue of the meeting.
A member of business delegation, which met the EU members, said they informed the visiting delegation that businessmen in Valley have incurred heavy losses due to the situation following scrapping of Article 370. Surprisingly, not a single prominent faces of Kashmir traders and civil society members met the EU team.