European Union asks India to lift restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir

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Jammu and Kashmir restriction
Jammu and Kashmir restriction

Srinagar : After concluding their second visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the European Union officials on Friday sought an immediate end to all the restrictions in the Union Territory.

"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 recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly.”

Noting the “positive steps” initiated by the union government to restore normalcy in the region, 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,” she said.

The Indian government had arranged a special visit for foreign envoys to assess the ground situation six months after India revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The envoys represented Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Uzbekistan, the MEA stated.

Last month, the government had taken 15 envoys to J&K but the European countries had declined to be part of it. A group of 27 members from the European Parliament – most of them from far-right parties – had visited Kashmir in a government-facilitated trip in October last year. The EU had distanced itself from the trip, and had said that it was not an official trip.