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Second batch of foreign envoys arrive in J-K

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

The second batch of foreign envoys arrived here on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir for a first-hand assessment of the situation in the Union territory six months after the nullification of Article 370.

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 the schedule due to inclement weather, officials said.

They said the envoys, who are staying at a hotel along the Boulevard Road here, instead went for a Shikara ride in the famous Dal Lake.

Those who will be part of the delegation include envoys from the European Union, South America and the Gulf countries, the officials said.

"Upon our arrival, we enjoyed a #Shikara ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. Beautiful lake and hospitable people. I bought a beautiful Kashmiri ring from a boat serving as a shop. @MEAIndia," Afghanistan's envoy to India Tahir Qadri tweeted.

Reacting to the visit of envoys, Iltija Mufti, the daughter of incarcerated PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, said she hoped that the ambassadors will question the authorities about the internet ban and and detention of political leaders under the Public Safety Act.

"Hope you & @EU_in_India question GOI about internet ban since 5th August & economic losses suffered. GOI muzzling local media in Kashmir, release of detainees inc 3 ex CMs slapped with draconian PSA, troop deployment to create fear amongst people. Normalcy's an illusion," she tweeted.

A visiting envoy told reporters that he was in Kashmir "as a tourist".

This is second group of envoys to visit the newly created union territory following abrogation of article 370 provisions on August 5 last year.

The aim of the envoys' visit to the union territory is to get first-hand information about the situation in the region after the abrogation of Article 370, the officials said.

The visiting envoys will be interacting with several delegations during their stay here, they said, adding the UT officials are also likely to brief the delegation.

A team of 15 envoys, including US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster, had paid a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir in January.

The central government had on August 5, 2019, abrogated Article 370 provisions and bifurcated the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 15:14 IST