New Delhi, January 10 (KMS): Indian political leaders and social activists have strongly criticized the Narendra Modi-led government for arranging a two-day controlled visit of Delhi-based foreign envoys’ to occupied Kashmir.

Congress leader, Manish Tiwari, termed the foreign envoys’ visit as a farcical exercise aimed at distorting reality. “Essentially, the government wants to demonstrate that everything is normal in Kashmir, which is far from reality,” he said.

“Post-abrogation of Article 370, the government assumed that Kashmiris would embrace it as a popular move and if that is the case, why is internet suspended for more than five months?

He said it’s paradoxical that the government can allow right-wing EU members to visit Kashmir but won’t allow Indian politicians to visit the territory.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, Sanjay Singh, said that Members of Indian Parliament, who wished to visit the territory, should also be allowed to go there. He said that the Indian MPs, who wished to visit Kashmir, should also be allowed to go to the territory.

On the other hand, Sushobha Barve of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation said, “My understanding is that they (Indian rulers) want to tell the world that everything is all right in Kashmir. I also think that during a Congressional hearing in the US, questions were raised about human rights violations in Kashmir.”

“A US Congress resolution on Kashmir is expected anytime soon, so the Indian government is trying to reach out to them and maintain how the abrogation of special status has restored normalcy in Kashmir,” she said.

Barve was part of a delegation of the Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG), which had visited Kashmir twice since August 5, last year, when India revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir and imposed a lockdown in the territory.

Former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, who was also part of the CCG delegation, wondered about the need for such a guided tour and maintained that people should have unrestricted access to Kashmir. “People should be allowed to go without any restrictions. What is the necessity for a guided tour unless the objective is to spread propaganda?” Habibullah, who served as a senior bureaucrat in Kashmir in the 1990s, asked.


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