EU calls for early polls in J&K – The Hindu

The European Union (EU) envoys, who studied the ground situation for two days in J&K, on Friday have praised certain measures taken post August 5 in the Union Territory (UT) but called for “early organisation of the legislative Assembly elections,” which remains in a suspended animation since June 2018.

“We have taken note of recent steps such as the election of District Development Councils and the resumption of 4G internet services. We look forward to a number of other important steps to be taken in the political and economic sphere, including the early organisation of the legislative Assembly elections,” a EU spokesman said, in a statement issued in New Delhi.

The 24 envoys from different continents, including the countries from the EU, toured both the summer capital Srinagar and winter capital Jammu of J&K. They took feedback from the elected representatives, civil society members and officials from February 17-18.

In a significant remark, the EU spokesman also underlined that “the right to freedom of expression online and offline is a key value for all democracies.”

On the tour, the spokesman said the visit presented the opportunity to see the situation on the ground and interact with local interlocutors, as part of the EU’s outreach to all stakeholders. “We look forward to continuing our dialogue with India on this,” the EU spokesman added.

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