A delegation of European Union envoys in India arrived here on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday for assessing the situation following the scrapping of its special status in 2019, officials said.
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The 20-member delegation arrived amid heightened security arrangements. The delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu on Thursday, the officials said.
The visit is the third official one by foreign diplomats of to Jammu and Kashmir since the government’s decision to amend Article 370 and divide the State into two Union Territories (Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh) on August 5, 2019.
According to Jammu & Kashmir officials, arrangements are being made for about 20 Ambassadors and diplomats. In Srinagar, workers were seen dismantling scores of security bunkers and barricades on Tuesday, especially those dotting the main road connecting the Srinagar airport with the city, in an apparent bid to decrease the visibility of security personnel.
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An official said the outreach being planned this week “is more extensive” compared to the previous two visits. “Representatives of the District Development Council (DDC), elected in December last year, will provide a fresh perspective of the ground situation,” another official said.
The J&K administration has extended invitations to Valley-based civil society groups, media persons and grassroots representatives and DDC members, to meet the delegation. However, no meetings with former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti or senior political leaders have been included in the agenda thus far. Ahead of their visit to the valley last year, the Ambassadors had asked to meet the former CMs, who were all in detention.
(With inputs from Suhasini Haidar, Peerzada Ashiq)