Kashmir: Hours after Union Home Minister Amit Shah reaffirmed in the Parliament that everything was normal in Kashmir, the European Union on Tuesday called on India to restore freedom of movement and normalcy in the Valley that has been witnessing partial communications ban on the 128th consecutive day. These remarks were made by Ugo Astuto, the EU Ambassador to India.

Expressing concern over the situation ensued after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and its division into two Union Territories, Astuto said that the EU group’s recent visit to Kashmir was not an expression of its policy decision. The visit by more than two dozen EU parliamentarians in October had come under fire from the opposition which slammed the government for allowing any third party to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

The ambassador also commented on the passing of controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha which got 311 votes in its favor. He hoped that the Narendra Modi-led government will uphold the principle of equality enshrined in the country’s Constitution, adopted in 1949, almost two years after India gained freedom from the British rule.

On Tuesday, Shah, who is also the BJP boss, said that the security forces did not fire a single bullet in Kashmir, claiming the situation was calm and peaceful, completely against what dozens of news reports said. On the release of political prisoners, Shah said that the decision will be taken by the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Central government will not interfere in the process.

Meanwhile, the region’s former chief ministers, former lawmakers, political leaders, separatists, young boys. and others are continuously either house arrest or behind bars. The chief ministers include Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. It was for the first time the government detained these leaders who have always supported Jammu and Kashmir’s, now Union Territory, accession to India. It is still unclear when these leaders will be freed. 

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