Thursday Sep 12, 2019
The only Indian-American Congresswoman in the United States House of Representatives has expressed concerns over the alarming human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and urged the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to convince India to end the curfew in the occupied valley.
According to a report on Indian news website NDTV, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, along with Congressman James P McGovern, have said the international media and independent human rights observers must immediately be allowed into occupied Kashmir.
"We urge you to work across the Administration to press the Indian Government to immediately end its communications blackout of Kashmir," reads a letter written by the two Congress members to Pompeo on September 11.
"US should convince India to expedite the process of reviewing and releasing individuals 'preventatively' detained, ensure hospitals have access to life-saving medicines and protect the rights of the Kashmiri people to freedom of assembly and worship," the letter states.
The two lawmakers told Secretary Pompeo that were concerned about credible reports from journalists and advocates on the ground that the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse available to them.
"We also urged the Indian Government at its highest levels to make it clear that religious tolerance - long a principle of Indian history and democracy - must be upheld," the two lawmakers wrote in the letter.
Jayapal also took to social networking website Twitter to share the letter she had penned to Pompeo, and expressed disappointment at the democracy in India which had failed to safeguard basic human rights of people in occupied Kashmir.
Jayapal said: "I continue to be deeply concerned about credible reports of a humanitarian crisis in Jammu & Kashmir. Even in complex situations, we look to strong democratic allies like India to uphold basic human rights and due process."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the constitutional autonomy of occupied Kashmir on August 5 and imposed a military curfew in the area to quash dissent. Thousands have been detained since and reports of Indian forces torturing detainees are also pouring in.