Another Batch Of 25 Foreign Envoys Reaches Srinagar

Foreign envoys conclude 2-day J&K visit

Foreign envoys conclude 2-day J&K visit

They represent Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Austria, Republic of Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Kingdom of Denmark, Dominican Republic, the European Union, French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Hungary, Italy, Republic of Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Republic of Namibia, Kingdom of Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Poland, Republic of Rwanda, Slovak Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uganda, and Republic of Uzbekistan.

He also termed the grounds for detention of local politicians under PSA "laughable and bizarre" and wondered which Valley the foreign envoys visited if they said that none expressed concern over political detainees.

This is the third visit by foreign diplomats and lawmakers to Jammu & Kashmir since August 5 a year ago, when the erstwhile state was stripped of its special status and bifurcated into two union territories.

"We are interacting with the traders, businesswomen and entrepreneurs in Srinagar about the status of business and tourism", Afghanistan's envoy Tahir Qadiry said in a tweet on Wednesday.

During their two-day stay in J&K, the diplomats will also travel to Jammu, where they will meet Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu and civil society groups.

Though the envoy said the group saw many schools open along the road on way from the airport, educational institutions were shut in Kashmir on December 16 a year ago for a three-month winter vacation.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah's "considerable influence" over people, including the ability to attract voters to polling booths despite poll boycott calls and the potential for channelling energies of public for any cause, has been cited in support of his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect fundamental rights, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs has said.

On pointed question from the envoys if the situation has improved since August 5, Ms. Habib said, "It's too early to say if there is change on the ground as the access to basic facilities remain denied". The delegation will meet fruit growers in North Kashmir before reaching Srinagar where they are scheduled to meet media representatives, civil society groups and politicians of Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the second batch of foreign diplomats to visit Kashmir in one month.

The diplomats will be meeting the delegations at a posh hotel on the banks of the Dal Lake which has been made out of bounds for people. "I'm sure they'd have lots to share", she wrote on Twitter. "I am happy", said another envoy.

ANI spoke to some of the envoys who visited Kashmir last month. Many EU countries had refused to be part of the "guided tour".

Last October, another foreign delegation, comprising members of the European parliament, mostly right-wingers, visited the Valley. The high-profile visit ran into controversy after media reports said it had been "arranged" to showcase normalcy in Kashmir. Another former chief minister and sitting MP from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah, was detained under the stringent law in September previous year.

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