Foreign envoys on 2-day visit to J&K

SRINAGAR, FEB 12 (IANS) | Publish Date: 2/12/2020 12:52:44 PM IST

More than 20 foreign envoys began their two-day Jammu and Kashmir visit on Wednesday with a Shikara ride in the iconic Dal lake in Srinagar.

Some of the members in the delegation belonged to Germany, France, Canada, Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

The envoys will travel to Jammu on Thursday after interacting representatives of civil society in Kashmir.

The envoys are likely to be briefed by senior officers in Srinagar about security situation in Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters after a shikara ride in Dal lake, Afghan envoy Tahir Qadiri said, “We saw that schools and shops were open on our way from the Airport to city.”

“It was the part of the world that I always wanted to see,” Qadiri said. Another envoy from Mexico said Kashmir is a beautiful place. “We are here as tourists,” he said. A third envoy said they have come to Jammu and Kashmir to see how is the situation here.

Amid tight security, the delegation checked into a five start hotel in Srinagar on the banks of the Dal lake.

This the third group of foreign diplomats visiting Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370. On January 9, a delegation of 17 foreign envoys including US ambassador Kenneth Juster visited the union territory.

The delegation will also meet business representatives and others during its stay in Srinagar and Jammu. A group of journalists will also be reportedly meeting them. 

On Thursday, the envoys will be heading to Jammu where they will be meeting with Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu and other civil society groups.

The visit also comes days after the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped on former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers - Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. 

3 detained for protesting against visit of foreign envoys

 Three young men were detained here on Wednesday after they staged a protest against the visit of foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir, police said. 

They protested against the visit and called it a waste of money while the envoys were enjoying a Shikara ride in the Dal Lake. A second batch of foreign envoys arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir for a first-hand assessment of the situation in the Union territory.

The envoys of over 20 countries arrived at the Srinagar airport at around 11 am but could not visit Baramulla town in north Kashmir as per schedule due to inclement weather there. They instead went for a Shikara ride. 

The envoys are from the European Union, South America and the Gulf countries, officials said. 

“The government should stop wasting money on these events. The money saved should be spent on the development of Kashmir,” one of the youths said while being whisked away by the police.

They were taken to the nearby police station, the officials said.

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