6 labourers slain in Jammu&Kashmir, over visit of  EU delegates

Srinagar: In an attempt to mar the atmospherics over the visit of EU delegates, who are being hosted by the state government, six migrant labourers from West Bengal were shot dead by terrorists in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.

The delegation of Members of European Parliament arrived here on Tuesday amid heightened tension to gauge the local situation and met various groups.

It is the first foreign delegation to visit Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5.

After checking into a five-star hotel here, the MEPs were taken to the Army's 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh where top army commanders briefed them about the situation.

After lunch at the 15 Corps HQ, they met delegations of Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party, representatives of panches and the sarpanches from the Valley, as well as some newly-elected Block Development Commission members.

The MEPs then took a 'shikara' ride on the Dal Lake, for about 20 minutes, before returning to their hotel. The Chief Secretary hosted a dinner for them.

The MEPs have come under criticism after it emerged that several of them belonged to right-wing parties in Italy, France and Germany. Former CM Mehbooba Mufti's daughter, Iltija Mufti, who operates her mother's Twitter account, posted: "Reports of stone pelting and massive shutdown in Srinagar today.

Wondering what outcome GOI expected by sending a group of mostly right-leaning Islamophobic EUMPs to Kashmir? Were you expecting nine million oppressed Kashmiris to lay out a red carpet for them? To justify a hare-brained disruptive decision, India's democratic credentials are being sullied internationally.’’

The delegation’s visit was marred by incidents of stone pelting and clashes were reported in several areas in Srinagar. Shops and businesses remained closed and even private transport was plying less than usual.

In some areas, youths had blocked the road to prevent the movement of traffic. There were also reports of firing on a security patrol in Drubgaon in Pulwama in south Kashmir, but no injuries were reported. The area was cordoned off after the firing.

Since the Centre's decision to scrap Article 370, terrorists have been targeting truckers and labourers, mainly those who come to the Valley from outside Kashmir. Tuesday’s attack on labourers came a day after terrorists shot a truck driver in Anantnag district and targeted people waiting at a bus stand in Sopore.

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