Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a photograph with the members of European Parliament | PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a photograph with the members of European Parliament | PTI file
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New Delhi/Srinagar: The Narendra Modi government is signalling a shift of sorts by allowing 28 members of the European Parliament (MEP) to travel to Jammu & Kashmir Tuesday. But it now transpires that several of the visiting MEPs are from Right-wing and extreme Right-wing parties in Italy, Germany and France.

Lega Nord of Italy, Rassemblement National of France and Alternative For Germany (Deutsche, or AfD) have one thing in common: They are seen to be anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-Euro.

Alice Wiedel, a leader of Germany’s AfD, in the run up to the 2017 polls, said the arrival of more than a million refugees had made the country “a safe haven for criminals and terrorists”, and that those who attacked homosexuals were “always the same”, that is, “people with Muslim backgrounds, Arabs”.

Lega Nord, or simply Lega, which was led until September by Italy’s former deputy prime minister and interior minister Matteo Salvini, at a 2018 conference in Vienna on security and migration, likened African immigrants to slaves — evoking a rebuke from the Luxembourg foreign minister who was present.

Rassemblement National (National Rally)’s leader Marine Le Pen, who in 2018 tried to rebrand her party by changing its name (it was earlier Front National) and moving towards a more populist and anti-immigrant position and away from its anti-Semitic and racist overtones, is said to be a friend of Salvini.

A local NGO, WESTT, is said to be the Indian host of the European parliamentarians. Other MEPs from Britain and Poland are also part of the delegation.


Also read: How, on this day 72 years ago, Jammu & Kashmir agreed to become a part of India

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‘Private visit’

The Ministry of External Affairs seems to have washed its hands of the European Union delegation. Sources said the MEA had “nothing to do with them”, that this was a “private visit”.

Significantly, European Union diplomats in Delhi said the same thing. “They are in Delhi in their personal capacity,” an EU diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told ThePrint.

Except that the meeting of the European parliamentarians with Prime Minister Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was not so private.

An official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said: “PM Modi expressed the hope that (the MEPs) have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including Jammu & Kashmir. Their visit to Jammu & Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region.”

Official sources also said that the European parliamentarians separately met NSA Doval for more than half-an-hour, and he briefed them on a “number of facts” which countered the “false propaganda by Pakistan”.

Doval said there are no longer any restrictions on movement, that there is 100 per cent landline and mobile telephony in J&K, that all hospitals are functional, and that although terrorists were trying to disrupt a return to normalcy by targeting innocent civilians, the government was ensuring the normal functioning of the economy.

The NSA’s briefing was also historical in nature: How Pakistan had never objected to the inclusion of J&K as a state of the Indian Union, how Article 370 was always “temporary” and the only such one out of 395 articles in the Constitution, how J&K had signed the Instrument of Accession into India in 1947.

Itinerary in Kashmir

The MEPs will travel to Srinagar Tuesday and spend the night in the city. They are likely to visit the Dal Lake and attend a presentation by civilian and police administration about the present situation and the working of the state.

According to sources, the delegation is also likely to have a lunch session with Indian Army officials at Badami Bagh Cantonment.

Police sources also said that the MEPs had put in a request to visit the militant-affected Shopian district in south Kashmir, but the state administration recommended they visit Anantnag instead. Though Anantnag too is an area affected by militancy, the district has a high concentration of security forces. This plan has not been finalised.

The delegation is also likely to meet a select group of civil society members — in Anantnag if the MEPs end up going there, or in Srinagar. The MEPs are then likely to hold a press conference or an interaction with select journalists, which is set to be held at a heavily-guarded Army facility in Srinagar.

Significance of the visit

The MEP visit to Srinagar is clearly aimed at countering Pakistan’s attempt to internationalise Kashmir. Pakistan PM Imran Khan, with considerable help from the Chinese, has succeeded in bringing it into the UN Security Council, although India managed to restrict it to closed-door discussions.

Only a week ago, Islamabad took Pakistan-based diplomats and media to the Line of Control and told them that India’s claims regarding terrorists being pushed into Jammu & Kashmir was not true.


Also read: Liberal democracy is under threat from digitisation as govts, tech firms gain more power


(With inputs from Snehesh Alex Philip)

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27 Comments Share Your Views

27 COMMENTS

  1. So i see you have read the NYT,WaPo, BBC about these parties. Where is your independent application of mind on European politics ? Do you know that LePen’s RN party won the largest share of vote in the France for the European parliament. The Polish law and Justice party is the ruling party in Poland. You can call them extreme right but the truth is that they are the main stream in these countries.

  2. While the people and the Parliamentarian of advanced countries of Europe are seeing threat from Islamic -Jihadi elements, the pressitutes in India are trying their best to project Jihadis as peaceful angles on planet Earth. Even in USA W .P. tried hard to project the end of isis chief Bagdadi as a death of Islamic scholar. Any body not of their liking is rightist anti -Islamist.. They conveniently forget to understand why Turkey. Iran –Enemies of Centuries–, USA-Russia– POles apart in ideology and culture-, jointly attack at the dens of terrorists in Middle East. But pressitutes think they have divine right to sermonize to ignorant Indian masses. .They should keep in mind that security of nation comes first to the Parliamentarians of Europe and to people in India.

  3. I anticipated The Print would be sensitive about National Interest on J&K issue. The Authors are labeling 30 EU visitors as right wing & extreme wing to suit their Story of Article. Did Govt of India selected these 30 EU Visitors? What The Authors of Article expect to left wing leaders,Communists,Left liberals to be sent to J&K? Why not ISI Representatives? These Authors looks like working with ulterior motive to fail abrogation of Article 370 in support of Jihadis.

  4. The Print in the name of fair and balanced is a tabloid — treat it as such — who cares what they say – read it for the sensationalism its meant to evoke

  5. Go on…what else.
    Let’s restore Hindu Kashmiris first in Kashmir who were killed enmass by u guys and chased out of homeland (originally belonging to them), not to Pashtun terrorists brought in 1947. Then call Kashmir a country of Kashmiris. Either ways current Muslims are also converted FORCIBLY or by RAPE to Islam

  6. And yet, surprisingly, you don’t mention the people criticizing are also left wing pro-islam congressmen and women like Ilhan-Omar. What a bunch of hypocrites you lot are.

  7. 1. Kashmir is an Independent nation that belongs to the people of Kashmir.
    A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, all manifested in a common culture.
    3. The Kashmiri people are fighting a war of liberation against the colonial oppressor India.
    4. The people of Kashmir have a right of self determination.
    5. Over 50,000 Kashmiri people have been killed by Indian forces Not including those buried in mass graves and thr disappeared
    6. The people of Kashmir do not share the same religion as the majority community’s in India. Muslims are forced into second class. Citizenship in India. The Muslims of Kashmir do not wish to be second class citizens in a Hindu country.

    • Go on…what else.
      Let’s restore Hindu Kashmiris first in Kashmir who were killed enmass by u guys and chased out of homeland (originally belonging to them), not to Pashtun terrorists brought in 1947. Then call Kashmir a country of Kashmiris. Either ways current Muslims are also converted FORCIBLY or by RAPE to Islam

    • Maqbhul bhatt,Uyghur Muslim in Xi Jiang ,China are demanding freedom & free country. But 1.2 Million Uyghurs put in Concentration Camp. They are re-educated as Chinese. They are put in in 4 walls & living in Barbed wire fenced compound. Baluch want freedom from Pakistan. They are killed,bombed, thousands of Baluch youths who protested for freedom disappeared from this earth. Bengalis were ill-treated & formed Bangla Desh. Sindh people are ill-treated & wants freedom. Christian ,Hindus & Mujaheers ill treated. Pakistan should worry about Baluch,Sindhis & Mujaheers Should also worry about their brother Uyghur Muslims

  8. If the loony left wing journalists don’t like the visiting delegation, then they must be good for India. Not knowing anything about them, just because Jyoti Malhotra and Azaan Javaid don’t like them, I fully support them.

  9. Five percent Muslims in UK want sharia law. And the same five percent produces fifteen percent prisoners. Just check with UK crime statistics which the government publishes every year. What would the authors say to this?

  10. Mr Boris Johnson wrote: ‘There must be something about Islam that indeed helps to explain why there was no rise of the bourgeoisie, no liberal capitalism and therefore no spread of democracy in the Muslim world’.
    He added Islam was held back by ‘fatal religious conservatism’ and the Muslim world had ‘fallen behind, the more bitterness and confusion there has been, to the point where virtually every global flash point you can think of – from Bosnia to Palestine to Iraq to Kashmir – involves some sense of Muslim grievance.’ DAILY MAIL

  11. Another issue of concern is that of making non-Muslim students study Islamic material, especially in primary classes. While Pakistan is a Muslim-majority state, it also has people of other faiths living within its borders, which is why it is unfair to make non-Muslim students memorise Islamic prayers or learn the majority population’s religious rituals. Dawn 5/10/15

    Indian Muslims do not have to memorise Gita at least, unlike Hindus in Pakistan.

  12. Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby, Oxford. The towns change, but the pattern is always the same. Gangs of men, mainly of Pakistani Muslim heritage, lure white girls as young as 10 with gifts and displays of affection. Next, the girl is raped as a way of “breaking her in”. Once the child’s spirit is subdued, and her mind fogged with drugs, she is sold for sex to multiple men at £200 a time. If the girl tries to break away, a gang member might threaten to behead her or firebomb her home. Telegraph, London.

  13. ”Alice Wiedel, a leader of Germany’s AfD, in the run up to the 2017 polls, said the arrival of more than a million refugees had made the country “a safe haven for criminals and terrorists”, and that those who attacked homosexuals were “always the same”, that is, “people with Muslim backgrounds, Arabs”.” Muslims all over Europe are well known for their rape cases against white girls, some as young as their daughters.

  14. ”Lega Nord of Italy, Rassemblement National of France and Alternative For Germany (Deutsche, or AfD) have one thing in common: They are seen to be anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-Euro.” they are not alone. Tariq Ali, the famous Pakistani author in London, reported in his article that more than half of the Uk people think of terrorist when they hear of a Muslim.

  15. The door has opened a crack. Hopefully, other delegations, including those of Indian politicians , will soon be visiting the Valley, interacting with ordinary citizens in an unstructured format.

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