The second batch of 25 foreign envoys reached Srinagar on Wednesday morning to have a first-hand assessment of the ground situation in the Kashmir valley following the abrogation of the Article 370 on 5 August last year since when restrictions have been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Envoys from Canada, Austria, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Slovakia, Netherlands, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, Germany, Tajikistan, France, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda and European Union are members of the visiting team.

Soon after their arrival amidst tight security arrangements, the envoys had a shikara ride on the Dal Lake and later interacted with traders, business-women, and entrepreneurs about the status of business and tourism in J&K.

They were also briefed by the top brass of the Army about the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) where Pakistan was making repeated attempts to infiltrate trained terrorists and also targeting the civilian population with heavy artillery and mortars. The envoys are scheduled to visit the LoC area in the Baramulla district on North Kashmir.

Three Kashmiri youth suddenly appeared on the banks of the Dal Lake while the envoys were taking ride in shikaras. The youth were protesting against the government “wasting” money on such delegations instead of investing it for the betterment of the newly created union territory. The police immediately whisked away the youth who were carrying placards.

The visit of these envoys has come soon after the detention of two former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Another chief minister Farooq Abdullah is already detained under the PSA.

Security has been tightened in the area around the hotel where the ambassadors are staying.

The internet facility seems to have been provided this time to the visiting envoys.

Although they did not talk to media persons shooting photos at the Dal Lake, but the Charge-d-Affairs of Afghanistan, Tahir Qadiry, was active on the twitter where he posted photographs and tweets about the meetings they were holding.

“We Afghans claim that we are Mehmaan-Navaz (Hospitable), but the Kashmiris are definitely so too. Interacted with a bunch of young people here. This girl is gold-medalist in basketball with very high hopes. Wishing this beautiful valley & its people lots of good wishes”, he tweeted.

“J&K produces 80 percent of India’s apple, according to a participant. So much potential for investments. A Kashmiri businessman urges the envoys to encourage their countries to partner with them”, Qadiry said in another tweet.

The envoys also met a group of media persons in Srinagar and after the meeting Qadiry tweeted; “In our interaction with the Kashmiri media outlets, the media people seriously urged the govt to restore the internet broadband as it is causing them so much problems to report and broadcast”.

The envoys are scheduled to also meet the Lt. Governor GC Murmu when they fly to Jammu.

The previous batch of envoys had visited Jammu and Kashmir on 9 and 10 January.

Mehbooba Mufti’s twitter account that after her detention is being handled by her daughter Iltija, said in response to a tweet of the Afghan envoy Tahir Qadiry; “Hope you and @EU_in_India question GOI about internet ban since 5 August & economic losses suffered. GOI muzzling local media in Kashmir. Release of detainees inc 3 ex-CMs slapped with draconian PSA. Troop deployment to create fear amongst people. Normalcy’s an illusion”.