Clashes, shutdown mark EU MPs’ Kashmir visit

PTI Srinagar | Updated on October 29, 2019

A view of a closed market in Srinagar on Tuesday. There was a complete shutdown in the city and at least four people were injured in numerous clashes between protesters and security forces in various parts of the Valley and in Srinagar.   -  NISSAR AHMAD

Team interacts with public, including newly-elected panchayat members

A delegation of 23 EU MPs, on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, arrived here on Tuesday to a complete shutdown and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.

A convoy of security vehicles escorted the MPs, who were travelling in bullet-proof vehicles, from the airport to their hotel where a traditional Kashmiri welcome awaited them.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and police chief Dilbag Singh briefed the members of the European Parliament, the first high-level foreign visitors to Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Centre to revoke the State’s special status and bifurcate it into two union territories.

The team also interacted with members of the public, including the newly-elected panchayat members and councillors, at a five-star hotel here. As the winter chill settled over the city, there was some boating in the famed waters of the Dal Lake, too.

The MPs were boating near the Centaur Hotel, where more than 30 politicians and activists have been under detention since August 5.

There was a complete shut-down in the city and at least four people were injured in numerous clashes between protesters and security forces in various parts of the Valley and in Srinagar, officials said.

People put up blockades in at least five different places in Srinagar, including Downtown Srinagar and 90 Feet Road. Shops and business establishments were closed and transport off the roads due to the clashes. There were also some incidents of stone pelting.

Vendors, who had been setting up their stall over the past weeks, also did not turn up on Tuesday, officials said. However, board examinations for Class 10 were held on schedule with worried parents waiting outside exam halls for their children.

The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, many from extreme right or right wing parties, but four did not travel to Kashmir and have reportedly returned to their respective countries, officials said without divulging any reason.

On Monday, the members of the European Parliament met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. While welcoming the MPs to India, he expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who hosted a lunch for the 27 visitors, also gave them an overview of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Published on October 29, 2019

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