Brussels: Acknowledging that Indian government has taken positive steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, the European Union (EU) on Friday said that the remaining restrictions, notably on internet access and mobile services, which were imposed in the region following the abrogation of Article 370 should be “lifted swiftly”.
EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson made the remark following a two-day visit by 25 foreign envoys including representatives by the EU to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The visit presented a welcome opportunity to see the situation on the ground and to interact with local interlocutors,” said Henriksson in a statement. “The visit confirmed that the Government of India has taken positive steps to restore normalcy. Some restrictions remain, notably on internet access and mobile services, and some political leaders are still in detention. While we recognise the serious security concerns, it is important that the remaining restrictions be lifted swiftly,” she added.
The second batch of foreign envoys, including those from Germany, France and Mexico, visited the newly-formed Union Territory on February 12-13 to witness the ground situation in the region six months after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
The group comprises representatives from Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Namibia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Uganda and Uzbekistan.
During the visit, they held meetings with Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir Justice Gita Mittal and Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu Envoys also met more than 100 members of civil society from across the section of Kashmir including engineers, doctors, lawyers, and students.
Civil society members told envoys that internet blockage continues to remain an obstacle in the restoration of full normalcy and they believe that full Internet should be restored.