SRINAGAR: The first day of the visit of 24 envoys to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday ended with a meeting with writers and artists at the musical fountain located within the convention complex of the famous Dal lake here.
After their visit to the historic Hazratbal shrine, the envoys from various countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa interacted with artists including Saima Shafi who is trying to revive pottery in the region, social activist Renzu Shah and Shahnawaz, who does calligraphy on Pashmina carpets.
Some local political leaders and officials from the handicrafts and tourism departments were also seen interacting with the envoys at the gathering.
Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador from France, and Cuban Ambassador Oscar J Martinez Cordoves showed keen interest in handicrafts especially pottery.
Interacting with Shafi, a junior engineer with the Public Works Department who is popularly known as ”Kral Kroor” or potter girl, the two ambassadors expressed surprise that women folk in the Kashmir valley were not involved in pottery.
“If women can make a house, they can mould the clay in whichever form they want,” said Shafi, adding that both the envoys told her that in their countries it was females who were predominantly involved in this trade.
The Cuban ambassador informed that women were mainly involved in the arts such as painting and pottery. “I told him that it will take some time for Kashmir to ensure such equality in society,” she said.
The Spanish representative showed some keen interest in embroidery and Pashmina besides the tourism infrastructure.
A group of envoys including those from several Europe Union countries and a few OIC member states began a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to take a first-hand account of the situation in newly-carved union territory, especially after the recently-concluded local body elections.
The envoys which has representation from four Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) — Malaysia, Bangladesh, Senegal and Tajikistan — were taken to Magam in central Kashmir amid heightened security arrangements in the city and elsewhere in the Valley, officials said here.
Other envoys included in this delegation were from Brazil, Italy, Finland, Cuba, Chile, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Kyrgyzstan, Ireland, Ghana, Estonia, Bolivia, Malawi, Eritrea and Ivory Coast.
This is the third delegation that has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir since the government abrogated the erstwhile state”s special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories by carving out Ladakh. (PTI)