Foreign envoys meet LG Murmu, CJ, CS in Jammu

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 2/14/2020 4:47:40 PM

Discuss political detention, internet restrictions

JAMMU, Feb 13: The second batch of 25 foreign envoys met Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu after it reached the winter capital on the second leg of its two-day visit here on Thursday.
The foreign envoys, including those of Germany, France, and Mexico, also held meetings with Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir Justice Gita Mittal, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, district administration officials and some select civil society members of Jammu division before flying back to the union capital. During their interactions, the envoys reportedly touched the issue of political detention and internet restrictions in the region also.
Earlier, the envoys, supposedly on a visit of Jammu and Kashmir to “witness the ground situation in the region nearly six months after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution” reached Jammu in the afternoon from Srinagar.
On the second and last day of their visit to the UT, the delegation of foreign envoys also interacted with the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam as well as representatives of the civil administration. According to sources, the Chief Secretary informed the envoys that only nine political detainees are left and there will be a review in due course of time.
On the issue of internet restrictions which was imposed in the newly formed Union Territory post the abrogation of Article 370 last year, the Chief Secretary said that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was being reviewed every week. Internet services were suspended due to security reasons in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir post the scrapping of Article 370.
“It is true that even our work is hampered,” Subrahmanyam told the envoys, adding that broadband and 2G services were fully restored but the motive was to maintain law and order in the region. He also told envoys that the administration was striving very hard to strengthen democracy from a grass-root level.
Panchayat elections have been announced and preparations have begun in full swing, the Chief Secretary apprised. The envoys, meanwhile, further asked about the potential investments in the region, to which Subrahmanyam informed the group that his administration would be organising an Investor's meeting in March, while road shows would also be organised in foreign countries like Dubai to invite foreign investors.
Prior to meeting the Chief Secretary, the foreign delegation, which included representatives from more than 25 different countries, also had a word with Lieutenant Governor, G C Murmu Lieutenant Governor Murmu hosted a luncheon for the visiting diplomats and gave details of the future roadmap of the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
The envoys visited Srinagar yesterday and met Kashmiri traders, businesswomen and entrepreneurs and discussed various issues related to trade and tourism. The delegation also met civil society members, sportspersons and many youths. Early in the day in Srinagar, they were briefed by Chinar Corps Commander Lt General KJS Dhillon regarding the security situation in the region.
The group of envoys 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.
As per an official spokesperson, yesterday, the foreign diplomats held extensive discussions with the prominent business community and political leaders in Srinagar. “The business community told envoys that they suffered losses due to abrogation of Article 370 followed by restrictions and at the same time they also said they are hopeful that promises of fast pace development by the Centre would be fulfilled,” official spokesperson said.
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.
Last month, envoys of 15 countries including US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and diplomats from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh, and Peru visited Jammu and Kashmir on January 9 and 10 to see first-hand efforts being made by the government in the region
The delegation also met civil society members, sportspersons and many youth besides having a detailed meeting with media persons including editors of several local newspapers. In the evening, they met a delegation of politicians. Senior officials of the union territory and army briefed the envoys about the present security scenario. The delegation took a Shikara ride on the famous Dal Lake. In a tweet, Afghanistan envoy, Tahir Qudiry, praised the hospitality of Kashmiri people. Earlier, a team of 15 envoys, including US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, paid a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir in January. The central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on 5th of August, 2019.



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