Kashmir situation alarms US Congress – Newspaper

WASHINGTON: "The reports we are receiving (from Kashmir) are heartbreaking with accusations that include enforced disappearances, mass detentions, rapes and sexual assaults, and the selective detention of political, economic and social leaders," says a letter signed by seven US lawmakers .

This is the third letter in less than a week that US congressmen and senators have written to the US administration, underlining their concern about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, occupied by the Indians.

In one of the letters, four key US senators urged President Donald Trump to play a constructive role to help resolve Kashmir and other underlying disputes between Pakistan and India, a role that would require it to mediate between the two nuclear powers in South Asia.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of State of the United States, Michael Pompeo, Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman James P. McGovern demanded that international media and independent human rights observers immediately enter Jammu and Kashmir to investigate the abuse reports

In a letter, four key US senators urge Trump to help resolve Kashmir and other disputes between Pakistan and India

This week, dozens of legislators expressed concern about the situation in Kashmir, highlighting the human rights situation in the occupied valley. Some also warned that the conflict could get out of control and cause another war between the two nuclear-weapon nations of South Asia, India and Pakistan.

The United States Congress was in the summer break when India announced its decision to annex Kashmir, imposing an endless curfew on its people and depriving them of their basic freedoms.

However, several lawmakers condemned the measure and some also urged the Trump administration to use its influence to calm tensions.

However, convictions increased when lawmakers returned to Washington this week for the fall session. In less than a week, dozens of legislators addressed this issue, while a panel of Congress on foreign affairs scheduled a hearing on Kashmir later this month. Other panels may also hold similar hearings and Kashmir is likely to appear in general discussions on foreign affairs, as the new session takes place.

The statements issued so far have three key points: a strong condemnation of human rights violations, the need to avoid another war between India and Pakistan and a more active role for the United States to calm tensions.

Another point raised in the statements of Republican and Democratic legislators is the need for Pakistan to ensure that militants do not take advantage of the situation.

In a recent diplomatic event, an assistant to Congress noted that “Indian action has generated a lot of sympathy for Kashmir in the Capitol. But all these sympathies will be lost if the militants get involved. ”

Although India opposes such mediation, there seems to be a growing understanding in Washington that disputes like Kashmir cannot be resolved without outside help.

"We ask that you call Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi to completely restore telecommunications and internet services, lift the blockade and curfew, and release the detained cashmere in accordance with the revocation of Article 370 of India," The four senators wrote in their letter.

Another United States senator, Bob Casey, said that India's changes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir were a "drastic change" from decades of precedents and policies that increase the potential for a escalated conflict between India and Pakistan and raises Serious concerns about people's safety. of Jammu and Kashmir.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said that recent Indian actions were "unacceptable" because they "strip the cashmere of their human dignity," endanger millions of people and seriously undermine democracy in India and Kashmir.

"People should not have to fear unfair detention, rape or torture because of who they are and what they believe."

Congresswoman Tlaib, a Palestinian American, said she has met with residents in her home state of Michigan "who can't even call their families in Kashmir to make sure they are safe, a truly unimaginable situation while violence continues, the militarization and occupation. "

He noted that Kashmir was already "one of the most militarized regions on Earth," and the recent actions of India had created more instability and increased the potential to accelerate violence.

Ilhan Omar, another Muslim member of the United States Congress, urged other legislators to ask for "an immediate restoration of communication; respect for human rights, democratic norms and religious freedom; and de-escaped in Kashmir."

Posted on Dawn, September 16, 2019

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1505469/kashmir-situation-alarms-us-congress


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