Monday Jan 27, 2020
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US House of Representatives may take up resolution on Kashmir

US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel. Photo: Carnegie Endowment 

WASHINGTON: US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel has said that a draft resolution on the ongoing situation in Indian occupied Kashmir could be presented in the United States House of Representatives in the coming months.

In an interview with Geo News, the Democrat congressman from New York said that the House may also take up human rights concerns with India.

The revelation came when the chairman was asked why a draft resolution had still not been presented in Congress regarding the situation in occupied Kashmir.

Read more: US Congressional sub-committee holds hearing on occupied Kashmir

“As you know, right now the foreign affairs committee is busy with impeachment and other things. But I think there is a general feeling to want to get some language within the next several months,” said Engel.

Apart from China, no other major power has commented on India’s revocation of occupied Kashmir’s special status since August 5. 

The silence has allowed Indian Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to introduce the euphemistically called ‘de-radicalisation camps’ in the occupied territory

When pressed on how the House can play a role in controlling India’s behaviour, the congressman remarked that the house will "ultimately hold hearings at the subcommittee level and full committee level to look into the issues”.

“There are things happening in Kashmir that are very troubling. They are troubling to me, they are troubling to my colleagues and they are troubling for a lot of people,” said Congressman Engel.

However, he clarified that he does not believe the US can just turn its heads and pretend that nothing was happening.

“These are serious things and cannot be swept under the rug. We are committed to dealing with them and we are going to take these concerns up very well with India,” assured the veteran lawmaker.

The lawmaker said this after he was informed about India’s oppressive policies in occupied Kashmir, where New Delhi has banned peaceful gatherings as well. The lawmaker was also told about the use of pellet guns by Indian security forces in the disputed valley.

Engels believes that Congress can play a “very important role” in pressuring India to reverse its August 5 decision. However, he noted that it was the US president and his administration who were responsible for “the bulk of diplomacy in foreign affairs”.

Related: An unprecedented Congressional hearing on Kashmir

“So I think a lot of things are going to be done by the Trump administration,” said the lawmaker. But he also said the House can conduct its “own investigation” and also carry out a “fact-finding” mission regarding India’s decision.

Chairman Engel had himself appeared in an unprecedented hearing on Kashmir and openly criticised the Trump administration for not paying attention to the human rights violations by India.

The congressman appreciated Pakistan-American Democrat, Dr Asif Mahmood, for highlighting this issue and hoped that the efforts will bear some fruit.

“It is very important what Dr Mahmood is doing,” remarked the chairman.

Dr Mahmood has been very active and his relentless efforts had led to the important hearing on Kashmir.

“As long as people are talking about Kashmir, watching it and monitoring it, I think that the better off we are,” said Engel while giving a clear hint as to how things go about in Washington.