Reyaz Rashid

Omar asks foreign envoys to send ‘real’ tourists

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Why GoI needs certificate from foreign envoys about normality in J&K: Mehbooba

Srinagar: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Thursday took a dig at the visit of 24 foreign envoys to Kashmir, asking them to send real tourists from their countries to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Thank you for visiting Kashmir. Now please send some real tourists from your countries to visit J&K. #envoysvisitJK,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said in a tweet.

The envoys from European, Latin American and African countries arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir for assessing the ground situation in the Union Territory following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August, 2019.

Senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz described the visit of the envoys as a futile exercise on Wednesday.

Most of the prominent mainstream politicians from the Union Territory have maintained a silence on the visit of the ambassadors.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday asked if Government of India (GoI) claims “everything is normal in Jammu and Kashmir”, then why does it need to get its certified by foreign envoys by sponsoring their tours here.

She termed the government’s efforts to paint an “all is well” picture of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir in front of the foreign envoys as “hogwash”, saying that “the people of erstwhile state live in misery after being robbed of their constitutional rights”.

Addressing the party workers convention of district Baramulla, Mufti said, “Instead of winning the hearts and minds of the people of J&K, New Delhi puts all its efforts to woo foreign envoys and seek their certificate on the situation here. Fact of the matter is that having almost a million of troops deployed in J&K, the government still feels insecure.”

“No matter what they try to project in these guided tours, the world knows the reality of Kashmir — where people have been robbed of their constitutional rights, voices muzzled and hundreds put in prisons without a rhyme or reason.”

She said whatever they do “restoration of the special constitutional position of J&K and resolution of the larger political issue through dialogue and reconciliation remain the fundamental demand and desires of the people. No amount of coercion can change that.”

Mufti also said that her party is fighting for the restoration of lost identity of Jammu and Kashmir and if the Centre doesn’t want to give statehood back to J&K, they will not beg or bow before the GoI.

She said that “when Jammu and Kashmir merged with India, it merged like a crown, and it was not like a any other state.”

She said that the agenda of PDP is the peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue and with that restoration of the lost identity of Jammu and Kashmir.

She also said that they have to fight for the rights and restoration of lost identity of Jammu and Kashmir that was snatched on August 05, 2019.

On being asked about property tax and domicile law, she said that all these laws have been brought to break the backbone of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The government is doing all this to make people of Jammu and Kashmir poor. This is conspiracy to bring in property tax and other taxes in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

She said that by bringing in these laws they want to loot Jammu and Kashmir and divert the attention from the real issue of Kashmir.

Meanwhile, National Conference on Thursday said that the Government of India was selling “normalcy of compulsion as peace” to the foreign envoys through a “futile exercise of curative tours”.

Such tours are conducted to reinforce the impression that everything is normal in Jammu and Kashmir while the reality on the ground is different, said party’s spokesperson said in a statement here while criticizing the government for conducting such guided tours of foreign envoys.

“We saw how a far-right group of the EU was roped by the GoI previously also to help them get diplomatic dividends. The entire exercise, however, failed to fetch anticipated results. On the contrary, the decision drew slack internationally and nationally in the wake of denying the same privilege to the country’s parliamentarians.  These curative tours serve no purpose because the visiting delegation is allowed to meet only hand-picked individuals,” the spokesperson said.

“The government has misread the eerie calm in Jammu and Kashmir as peace; the silence after the abrogation of Articles 370, 35-A is no indicator of peace. The ruling dispensation at New Delhi is under false impression that they have silenced Kashmir by the harshest clampdown post August 5th measures but that tantamount to living in denial,” the spokesperson said.

“The ground situation in Kashmir post August 5th, 2019 measures is also revealed and needs no account. Since the state was unilaterally dismembered and sheared of its unique status, there has been spurt in the violence-related incidents. There is no thaw in the armed encounters in which nearly 400 people including 200 security forces’ officers have lost their lives,” the spokesperson said, adding that the “prevalence of suicidal deaths of security forces has also seen a manifold increase”.

“There is no semblance of peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir. For any developmental activity to take place, peace is the first universal prerequisite.  Therefore, it is expected that the party that helms the central government  works towards achieving peace in its real sense by addressing the political aspirations of the people,” the NC spokesperson said.

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