Congressmen seek access for Congress members, foreign journalists to held Kashmir
WASHINGTON: The US Congressmen have urged India to give access to Congress members and foreign journalists to the held valley and lift the communications blockade.
In a letter to the Indian Ambassador in Washington, they have voiced serious concerns over continued lockdown and communications blackout in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The letter also expressed concerns over the revocation of Article 370 by India and imposition of curfew in the Occupied Kashmir.
The Congressmen were also critical of the arrest of political leaders and workers in the occupied Kashmir as well as the use of pellet guns against the Kashmiris.
Earlier this month, different influential US lawmakers had expressed concern over the situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of special status of the held territory.
The lawmakers, including Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, had aired their concerns during a Congressional hearing on Human Rights in South Asia.
Jayapal in her remarks had said that India being a critical ally of the US needed to uphold its commitment to human rights.
Another Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who has been highly critical of India on Kashmir, had said that partnership with India was strategic, but was also based on common values of human rights and democracy.
In his opening remarks, Congressman Brad Sherman had said the entire world was paying attention on what was happening in Kashmir.
On Oct 22, US Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells had relayed to a Congressional panel that America had not changed its position on Kashmir and still considered it a disputed territory, despite India’s repealing its special status.
“We consider the Line of Control (LoC) a de facto line separating two parts of Kashmir. We recognise de facto administrations on both sides of LoC,” said Wells while responding to a query of Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Congressman Brad Sherman on if the US had accepted the LoC as an international boundary after India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution. She had said this while talking to a panel of Congress members.
Alice G Wells had said the US did not take position on the type of administration either by India or Pakistan, Dawn newspaper reported.