Members of Opposition parties in India criticised the group of European Union legislators visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, for their affiliations to right-wing parties. The delegation is mostly comprised of leaders from right-wing parties known for making Islamophobic or anti-immigrant comments in the past.

“Fantastic Choice of MEPs [Members of European Parliament] who suffer from a disease – Islamophobia (Nazi lovers) are going to Muslim majority Valley, sure people will welcome them by ‘Ware Paeth Khoshh Paeth’,” tweeted All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Communist Party of Indian (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury also criticised the political affiliations of the group of leaders. “This unofficial group is overwhelmingly from ultra-right wing pro-fascist parties having relations with BJP,” he tweeted. “This explains why our MPs aren’t allowed but [Narendra] Modi welcomes them. Three ex-CMs and 1000s others are jailed and this group of MEPs is preferred over Indian political parties?”

Senior CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu accused the Centre for imposing a lockdown, not allowing Indian leaders to visit the region, and put leaders in the state under detention. “It is increasingly the government faced with criticism internationally about its Kashmir policy, in such a background it seems a group of extremely right-wing MPs from different countries they are coming here as individuals,” Basu said, according to India Today. “It is an unauthorised delegation and a private delegation where prime Minister is meeting them, national security advisor meeting them.”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi also criticised the Centre’s decision to allow the European Union lawmakers to visit Kashmir. “European MPs in Kashmir allowed to visit and intervene, but Indian MPs and leaders were sent back from the airport as soon as they arrived!” she tweeted. “This is a very unique nationalism.”

Several Opposition leaders have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration for allowing the leaders’ visit when the country’s politicians had to seek legal recourse for it.

India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status on August 5. It also divided the state into two Union Territories by passing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. Over a thousand people, including political leaders, separatists and activists, were detained after a security clampdown.

Also read:

1. ‘Outright insult to Parliament’: Opposition castigates Centre for allowing EU leaders to visit J&K

2. The Daily Fix: European MPs visit to Kashmir looks like a weak attempt by Modi at damage control

PDP distances itself from leaders who attended Doval’s lunch

The Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday said it will not take part in any “rhetoric” of the central government, which it claimed was trying to hide the “real situation” in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported. The remarks came after leaders from the party attended a lunch, hosted by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Monday.

The PDP “officially distances itself from any (of its) members who attended (National Security Advisor) Doval’s lunch yesterday [Monday]”, said the party’s spokesperson Firdous Tak. He added that members meeting the administration’s officials should not be misconstrued as an endorsement from the party, and that they had met the European Union delegation in their personal capacity. Senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig was reportedly among those who attended the lunch.

“The PDP has every reason to believe that normalcy theatrics by [the] BJP government was the result of tremendous international and national pressure following its misadventures in Jammu and Kashmir,” Tak said.

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