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Foreign envoys visit Kashmir, hold talks with elected leaders
This is the third visit by foreign envoys to Kashmir after the repeal of Article 370. Since then local body elections have been held and internet services restored.

SRINAGAR, Feb 18: A group of foreign envoys arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday amidst tight security on a two-day tour of Jammu & Kashmir to make an assessment of the law and order situation in the Union Territory.

This is the third visit by foreign envoys to Kashmir since the August 2019 repeal of Article 370 that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

On arrival they were driven to a college in Budgam in central Kashmir where they were accorded a welcome by panchs and sarpanches. They met the recently elected local body representatives and others. They spoke to representatives of all political parties.

They were briefed about the situation and the changes that have taken place since their last visit. They were told local bodies elections have been held and the three-tier panchayat system was established.

Internet services have been restored after 18 months. Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu explained to them about the recent peaceful election held in the Union territory. They had discussions with recently elected members of the District Development Councils.

The envoys also visited the Hazratbal Shrine, the famous domed mosque in Srinagar.

The envoys are from Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, Malawi, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and the European Union.

Shops and other establishments remained closed following a shutdown call given by separatists in most parts of the city. Armed personnel guarded public places as the envoys arrived.

Former Chief Minister of the erstwhile State Mehbooba Mufti termed the visit as “event management by the BJP Government”.

The envoys are scheduled to visit Jammu on Thursday and interact with a cross section of people.

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