Tuesday Oct 22, 2019
WASHINGTON: The United States House Foreign Affairs sub-committee discussed human rights issues in Occupied Kashmir and the situation in the Muslim majority region that has emerged after New Delhi scrapped its special status.
The hearing on Kashmir by United States House Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Asia, the Pacific and Non-proliferation, a sub-committee within the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was convened by Congressman Brad Sherman, Chairman of the panel.
"The hearing will focus on the Kashmir Valley, where many political activists have been arrested and daily life, the internet, and telephone communications have been interrupted," Sherman said, in a statement, adding that it will also review supplies of food, medicine, and other essentials in the Valley.
Lawmakers including Elliot Engel, Rep Jim Costa, Rep Anthony Brown,Rep Karen Bass, Rep Ilhan Omar, Rep Mike Levin, Rep Tom Malinowski, Rep Ro Khanna, Rep Krishna Murti, Rep Gil Cisnero, Rep Ruben Gallego , Rep TJ Cox, Rep Judy Chu, Rep Jed Van Drew, Rep Tony Cardenas, Rep Jaypal,Rep Alan Loventhal,Rep Ted Lieu and others were attending the hearing.
Attendees exchanged views on the human rights violations in the occupied valley.
“We expressed our concerns regarding Kashmir to India,” said US diplomat Alice Wells. “We are closely monitoring the situation in Kashmir.”
Alice Wells stated that three former chief ministers of occupied Kashmir had also been arrested.
“We will keep on pressurizing India to lift the communications blockade,” she said.
Wells said that in a span of two to three months, several thousand people had been arrested.
Kashmiris affected by the communication blockade in Occupied Kashmir for more than two months were also due to appear before the committee to expose the Indian government's human rights violations.
The hearing's significance has increased manifold in the wake of India's reluctance to world community’s call for an end to curfew.