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Lawmakers, Mostly from Europe's Far Right, Visit Kashmir

*This is an excerpt from "The New York Times" provided by Syed Akhtar Raza*

NEW DELHI - After months of denying journalists, Indian lawmakers and an American senator access to the locked-down Kashmir region, the Indian government on Tuesday allowed a visit by mostly far-right members of the European Parliament, representing anti-immigration parties with histories of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

India stripped the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy on Aug. 5, and it has stopped international journalists from traveling there, locked up local politicians and severed phone lines and the internet.

A United States senator, Chris Van Hollen, was prevented from travelling to Kashmir earlier this month, and the Indian government has consistently blocked the country's own lawmakers from visiting he area to assess the situation.

"In its desperation to convince international community that normalcy's restored in Kashmir," the government of India is "engaging with what seem like pro fascist, right leaning and anti immigrant EU MPs. Royal mess," the post read. (Ms. Mufti's Twitter account is being operated by her daughter while she is in detention, supporters say.)

In August, the Indian government suddenly revoked Kashmir's autonomy, in an attempt to increase its hold on the territory.

The move will seperate it into two union territories -- Ladakh as one territory, and Jammu and Kashmir as another. Doctors say people have died because ambulances have been delayed at checkpoints.

"It's an insult to India's Parliament when democratically electeed parliamentarians from India are forbidden from traveling within their own country and must seek permission to travel to Jammu and Kashmir," Gaurav Gogoi, a lawmaker with the opposition Indian National Congress party, said in an interview.

Although the Indian government insisted that the Europeans were visiting in a personal capacity and had not officaially been invited by New Delhi, on Monday the met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his national securtiy adviser, Ajit Doval.

Members of the European Parliament during their visit to Kashmir, on Tuesday. Not even Indian lawmakers have been allowed into the region, which has remained largely locked down.Credit : Farooq Khan/EPA, via Shutterstock

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