Capping a visit that attracted controversy and opposition ire, EU parliamentarians visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday termed Article 370 an internal issue of India and said they stand by the country in its fight against terrorism. The 23 members of European Parliament, who flew into a restive Kashmir Valley pockmarked by shutdowns and clashes for a two-day visit on Tuesday, also condemned the killing of five migrant labourers from West Bengal by terrorists in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
“If we talk about Article 370, it is India’s internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of the killing of five innocent labourers by terrorists. We condemn it,” said Henri Malosse from France. Malosse, a former President of the European Economic and Social Committee, said the team got a briefing from the army and police as well as young activists and exchanged “ideas of peace.”
The two-day trip, to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, is significant for more than one reason. It is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the 5 August decision of the Centre to revoke the state’s special status under Article 370 and downsize it into two union territories. And it ended on the last day of Jammu and Kashmir’s existence as a State. Today, the state will be bifurcated into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. MEP from Poland Ryszard Czarnecki said the international media coverage on Kashmir seems biased. “Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw,” the leader from the Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc party said. This support from Europe is certainly a moral booster for India.