Kashmir restrictions ‘devastating’: U.S. House Committee
It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen, it says
Weeks ahead of its Asia Subcommittee hearing on human rights in South Asia, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) said the communications shutdown is having a “devastating impact” on Kashmiris and called for restrictions to be lifted.
“India’s communication blackout in Kashmir is having a devastating impact on the lives and welfare of everyday Kashmiris. It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen,” HFAC said via Twitter.
The HFAC account had posted a report by the New York Times that described the death of 22-year-old Amir Farooq Dar. Mr. Dar had died 16 hours after being bitten by a snake, because his family could not get him antivenom in time because of severe communications and movement restrictions in Jammu & Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 (special status for Jammu & Kashmir).
Focus on human rights
The State Department’s top South and Central Asia diplomat, Alice Wells, will be among those testifying at an October 22 HFAC Asia Subcommittee hearing, expected to focus on human rights in Kashmir, The Hindu recently reported.
The Subcommittee, headed by Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, will also discuss the rights of Muslims in Assam (where the National Register of Citizens, finalised at the end of August, excluded over 1.9 million people), Tamils in Sri Lanka and the human rights situation in Pakistan especially in the Sindh province.
U.S. lawmakers have continued to raise the issue of restrictions in Kashmir. Presidential Candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted about the issue last Saturday, asking for the rights of Kashmiris to be respected and saying the India-U.S. relationship has always been rooted in “ shared democratic values”. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” in a September 26 report accompanying the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2020.