The situation in Kashmir violates human rights, a US Congresswoman has said, as she joined as cosponsors to a resolution urging India to end restrictions on communications and mass detentions in the newly-created Union Territory.
The resolution No 745 that was introduced in the House of Representatives last year by Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal now has 36 cosponsors, of whom two are Republicans and 34 from the opposition Democratic party.
“The situation in Kashmir violates human rights. Thousands have been detained unjustly & millions are without access to the internet & telephones,” Congresswoman Debbie Dingell said in a tweet Monday night.
“That’s why I signed onto House Resolution 745 so the US can let the world know we will not stand by while these violations happen,” she said.
Dingell represents 12th Congressional District of Michigan.
The Congressional resolution is currently before the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.
Congressman Brad Sherman said he looks forward to getting US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster’s report on his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
“I expect the report to indicate what restrictions the Ambassador faced, in particularly, whether or not the Ambassador was able to visit detainees. The visit and report are valuable only to the extent of the access given,” Sherman wrote on twitter.
A group of 15 envoys, including Juster, visited Jammu and Kashmir last week where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as the military top brass.
Internet services, landline and mobile phones were snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, a day before the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two union territories.
Though most services, except mobile internet, were restored in Jammu within a week, Kashmir saw landlines and post-paid services being restored in phases.
However, internet continues to remain barred in the entire Valley except for some government offices, hospitals and business establishments. Pre-paid mobile services too are yet to be restored in Kashmir.
Mobile internet services were restored in Kargil district of Ladakh after remaining suspended for 145 days.
The visit by the envoys of 15 nations was the second one of a foreign delegation to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 provisions on August 5 last year.
Earlier, Delhi-based think tank International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies took 23 EU MPs on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory.
Meanwhile, the Hindu American Foundation has launched a nationwide campaign urging Indian Americans to reach out to their representatives – Congressmen and Senators – to appraise them about the improving situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the atrocities against Kashmiri Hindus in the past.
In the past several weeks, more than half a dozen US lawmakers have come out in support of India’s position on Kashmir. Almost all of them have spoken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Scott Perry from Pennsylvania last week said that he stands with India in its aspiration to provide equal economic, social, and political opportunities to all citizens.
“As part of this pursuit, two-thirds of the Indian Parliament voted last year to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir. This vote allowed the government of India to address the stagnant economy and high youth unemployment plaguing the region by providing economic opportunity and sound governance,” he said.
“The residents of Jammu and Kashmir have battled economic depression and forces of extremism and radicalisation for too long. The regional stability now provided by government will give residents of Jammu and Kashmir a better way forward and hope for the future,” Perry added.