EU calls for swift withdrawal of remaining restrictions in Kashmir
New Delhi: The European Union on Friday sought swift lifting of existing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir but at the same time noted the “positive steps” initiated by the union government to restore normalcy in the region.
The comments by the European Union came a day after a group of 25 foreign envoys concluded a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to have a first-hand account of the situation over six months after the Centre announced withdrawing its special status.
“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,” 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 organised 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 but the European countries had declined to be part of it.
After announcing reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and withdrawal of its special powers, India imposed severe curbs including on movement of people as well as on mobile telephone and internet connectivity. The crackdown drew international criticism with several countries expressing concerns over the situation in Kashmir.