Amid assurances from the Centre that the situation is completely “normal” in the Valley, the European Union (EU) today said it is “concerned” about Kashmir.
The bloc’s Ambassador to India, Ugo Astuto, said it was important to restore the freedom of movement and normalcy there.
A group of European parliamentarians visited Kashmir in October on a two-day tour to have a first-hand assessment of the situation after the state’s special status was revoked in August by abrogating Article 370.
The ambassador said that the visit to Kashmir by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) was not “an expression of EU’s policy decision”.
But when the Congress attacked the Centre over the Kashmir issue, Union Home Minister Amit Shah shot back saying “not one bullet was fired” and things are indeed normal in the erstwhile state.
“The situation in Kashmir valley is completely normal. I can’t match Congress’s definition of normal because they had predicted bloodshed after the abrogation of Article 370. Nothing of that sort happened, not one bullet was fired,” said Shah in Lok Sabha today.
The BJP chief also hit out at the Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury saying that the party is more concerned about the “political activity” in the region than the people there.
“99.5% of students sat in the examination there, 7 lakh people availed OPD services in Srinagar, curfew and section 144 removed from everywhere, but for Adhir Ranjan ji this is not normalcy. For him, the only parameter for normalcy is political activity. What about local body polls? There was 95% voting in Tehsil-Panchayat elections (Block Development Council) polls without any violence. This is also political,” Shah added.
Responding to questions around the release of political leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah, who are in detention since August 5 when Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped, Shah said it is for the local administration to decide and the government will not interfere in their decision.
“There is no need or desire to keep anyone (leaders) in jail even for a day more than that is required. As and when the local administration feels the time is appropriate, they will be released. There will be no interference from our side. It is your culture to dial the administration and interfere, not ours,” the Home Minister said to a question by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
He also took a dig at the Congress, accusing the party’s government in the past of keeping Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Abdullah in jail for 11 years.