EU Team Meets Separatist Kashmir Leaders In Srinagar

25 November 2009
The Indian Express

Srinagar: A five-member European Union (EU) delegation that arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, met various separatist leaders on Tuesday. Led by Sweden Ambassador to India, Lars Olof Lindgren, the team included Belgian Ambassador Jean M. Deboutte, Spanish Ambassador Ion de la Riva, Second Secretary (Political Affairs) in the Swedish embassy Oscar Schlyter and EU Ambassador Danielle. They discussed issues relating to human rights violation in the state. The delegation met Mohammed Yasin Malik, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Malik said he told the EU delegation that people in Kashmir would respond to the call of the international community. 'I told them that people in Kashmir respond the call of the international community. Now it is the responsibility of the international community to help to resolve this issue. If you will not help to resolve this issue, then you are pushing Kashmiri people back to the wall,' said Malik. The delegation also met with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat (freedom) conference. Lord Olof Lindgren, the head of the European Union delegation, said they were concerned about the human rights violation in Kashmir. 'Well, there are a lot of human rights issue that we are looking into. I cannot go into the details of those but those are of concern to the European Union and we discussed them with the Indian government and we have met the Human Rights Commissioner in the state. So we will follow these things with interest like we follow the situation in all parts of India,' added Lord Olof Lindgren. Separatist groups have long demanded the withdrawal of Indian troops and scrapping of anti-terrorism laws, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that gives sweeping powers to security forces in Kashmir, where about 500,000 troops are stationed.