23-member EU delegation arrives in Kashmir to assess situation

EU envoy head to Magam after arriving in Srinagar. Aman Farooq/GK

A delegation of European Union envoys in India arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday for assessing the situation following the scrapping of its special status in 2019, officials said.

The 20-member delegation arrived amid heightened security arrangements. The delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu on Thursday, the officials said.

Photography by Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

Official sources said that envoys of Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, EU, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, Malawi, Eritrea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are visiting Srinagar and Jammu, the summer and winter capitals of the union territory.

In 2019, the Centre had facilitated a visit of envoys from 23 European members of Parliament. Last year, envoys from 17 countries including the US visited.

Soon after arriving in Kashmir, the envoys drove to Magam locality in Budgam district whether they were welcomed by DDC chairman Nazir Khan and other panchayat representatives.

An official said that the envoys were briefed on Panchayati Raj and other government programmes like ‘Back to Village’. He said the delegation also interacted with locals and members of the civil society.

During their stay in the Valley, the delegation members are scheduled to meet more district development council members and civil society representatives, the official said, adding they are scheduled to visit the revered Hazratbal shrine on the banks of Dal Lake as well.

The delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu on Thursday where they are likely to meet the officials of the Union territory.

Parts of Srinagar observed a shutdown to mark the arrival of the envoys’ delegation to Jammu and Kashmir. Shops in Lal Chowk and surrounding areas of the city remained shut as authorities deployed extra security personnel to ensure that the visit of the envoys passes off without any incident.