NEW DELHI: An MP of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrats party Chris Davies on Tuesday claimed his invitation to visit Jammu and Kashmir was "promptly" withdrawn by Indian authorities after he insisted on being allowed to speak freely with locals without being accompanied by security forces.
The senior UK politician said he is “not prepared to take part in a PR stunt” for the government, or pretend that all is well in J&K.
A delegation of 26 MPs from the European Union reached Srinagar on Tuesday for a two-day visit during which they will be briefed on the situation by government officials and also meet a cross-section of local people.
On Monday, the members of the European Parliament met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
Davies was invited by a Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT) to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 28 and then continue his journey to Kashmir ending with a press conference on the October 30 but was uninvited the day after the invitation was extended.
The senior UK politician reportedly said that on October 8, he told WESTT that he was happy to accept the invitation on the condition that he would be free to go wherever he wished, unaccompanied by security personnel but accompanied by journalists. He further said he was told that flight and accommodation costs will be paid by the ‘International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies’.
Davies said that his invite to Kashmir was cancelled on the October 10 and has not been contacted since.
“What is it that the Indian government has to hide? Why will it not give journalists and visiting politicians free access to speak with local people? I represent thousands of people in the North West of England who have family associations with Kashmir. They want to be able to speak freely to their relatives,” Davies said.