The European Union Parliamentarians, who toured the state of Jammu and Kashmir to assess the ground situation, were invited by an NGO and promised “prestigious VIP meeting” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an English daily, which accessed the invites, reported on Wednesday.
The government has been in the eye of a storm ever since a delegation of 29 MPs, in their personal capacity, arrived in the national capital and met the prime minister and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval before proceeding with their visit to the Valley on Tuesday.
However, the gates of the NGO, Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT), which sent out the invitation on PMO's behalf claiming that Modi wanted to meet the MEPs as “influential decision-makers from the European Union”, are shut, NDTV reported.
The NGO's link to the Prime Minister's office or even the government is still not clear. The Hindu also said that its attempts to reach out to the woman, Madi Sharma, who sent invites and then accompanied the MEPs to the PM office, failed.
Sharma's Twitter account describes her as an “international business broker”.
“I am organising a prestigious VIP meeting with the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi and it is my privilege to offer this invitation to you,” Sharma said in the invite.
“As you will be aware Prime Minister Modi had a landslide victory in the recent elections in India and is planning to continue on his path of growth and development for India the country and its people. In that respect, he would like to meet influential decision-makers from the European Union,” the invite further said.
Explaining the 3-day visit, the invite further mentioned a meeting with Indian Prime Minister, a visit to Kashmir, followed by a press conference on Wednesday.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), too, on Wednesday clarified it was "not involved and not coordinating the visit".
That's not all. Not only has the Opposition called the visit into question but also asked why domestic leaders were being barred from going to Jammu and Kashmir. On top of that, the political parties these MEPs represent in their respective countries, too, has become a subject of discussion. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the government, saying "Nazi lovers" were visiting the Valley, alluding to the "far-right" antecedents of their political outfits.
On Wednesday, the MEPs said they do not want to interfere in the internal matters of India, referring to abrogation of Article 370.
However, they said the terror was a universal problem and they support India in its efforts to eliminate it. The group of 23 members of the European Parliament also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal by terrorists on Tuesday.
"If we talk about Article 370, it is India's internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of killing of five innocent labourers by terrorists. We condemn it," said Henri Malosse from France.