GoI has taken positive steps to restore normalcy: EU

Foreign envoys in a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Friday.
Foreign envoys in a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Friday.

Envoys meet NSA after return from J&K
*Calls for lifting restrictions

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Feb 14: After their two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on February 12 and 13, 25 foreign envoys today met National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in the Union capital to give their assessment of the situation in the Union Territory post August 5 Central decisions including abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A.
After visit, the European Union said the Government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but, at the same time, voiced concern over restrictions. Click here to watch video
All 25 Envoys who visited Srinagar and Jammu on February 12 and 13 respectively, met large number of delegations and were briefed by Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and top brass of Army, civil and police administration, today met Doval at Hyderabad House in New Delhi and had detailed inter-action with him on various aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The envoys shared their experiences and perspective about ground situation especially in Kashmir valley, which was very different from what they had read in the international media reports,’’ sources said.
After meeting Doval, German Ambassador Walter J Linder said: “We exchanged our experiences from our visits to Jammu and Kashmir. I think it was also done last time when the first group went to Jammu and Kashmir. It was a good meeting’’.
Afghanistan envoy Tahir Qadiry said after the meeting that he had good experience on his visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
“It’s always very good to have first account of things,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the European Union has noted the “positive steps” initiated by the Union Government to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but sought swift lifting of existing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The visit confirmed that the Government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy. Some restrictions remain, notably on internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention,” said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
“While we recognize the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly,” the official said.
Battu-Henriksson said the visit presented a “welcome opportunity” to see the situation on the ground and to interact with local interlocutors in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We look forward to continuing the dialogue with India on the situation in the region,” the official added.
The visit was organized by the Government to help the foreign envoys know about the situation in the Union Territory.
The EU official said the programme included meetings with civil and military authorities, some political representatives as well as selected representatives of civil society and the business community.
Last month, the Government had taken 15 envoys to Jammu and Kashmir.
After announcing reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir and withdrawal of its special Constitutional provisions, the Central Government had imposed certain restrictions on internet services and detained some political leaders. While 2G mobile internet services have been restored across the Union Territory and number of detained political leaders released; three former Chief Ministers—Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Twenty-five foreign envoys during their visit to Srinagar and Jammu for two days, which concluded yesterday, had met series of delegations in both rotational capital cities of the Union Territory and got briefing from Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahma-nyam, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh besides the Army officials on prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley.