US senators urge Trump to help end Kashmir restrictions

Source: India Abroad News Service

Washington, Sep 13 (IANS) A group of US senators have urged President Donald Trump to help ease the ongoing “clampdown in occupied Kashmir by the Indian armed forces”.

Senators Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, Lindsey Graham and Todd Young in a letter addressed to Trump on Thursday pressed him to immediately act to stop “the humanitarian crisis in the Valley”, say media reports.

They urged the US President to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift “the lockdown and curfew and release the hundreds of innocent Kashmiris detained under the controversial Public Safety Act”.

“We write to express our concern regarding the situation in Kashmir, which has grave implications for democracy, human rights and regional stability. While we support your (Trump) goal of working with the parties to help find a long-term resolution to the status of Kashmir, we write now to urge you to immediately facilitate an end to the current humanitarian crisis there,” the letter read.

It added: “With each passing day, the situation for the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore, we ask that you (Trump) call upon Prime Minister Modi to fully restore telecommunications and Internet services, lift the lockdown and curfew and release Kashmiris detained pursuant to India’s revocation of Article 370.”

In the context Trump’s mediation offer to resolve the Kashmir issue, the senators wrote: “The US has a vital role to play in facilitating a resolution to this humanitarian crisis, and we urge you (Trump) to act swiftly.”

“Once the urgent humanitarian situation has been addressed, we hope the US can play a constructive role in helping resolve the underlying disputes between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan.”

US Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “It (the situation in Kashmir) is very much a matter for the (Trump) administration and the administration has to take it more seriously. At the end of the day we do need the administration to weigh in.”

Congressman Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat who is also a former US Ambassador to Switzerland, said: “I have been very dismayed with what’s happening in Kashmir. I strongly disagree with what Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has done.”

Earlier, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal along with another US lawmaker had urged the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to convince the Indian government to “immediately lift the communications blackout” in Jammu and Kashmir.

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