U.S. raises concern about Kashmir, urges India to respect human rights

Posted In: News Date:Oct 22nd, 2019

(Karachi) The U.S. has raised concerns about the current situation in Occupied Kashmir and ongoing detention of residents and political leaders by Indian forces.

The statement was issued by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G. Wells while addressing U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Asia, the Pacific, and Non-proliferation on Tuesday.

She said U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is closely monitoring the situation in Occupied Kashmir.

Statement by Alice Wells @State_SCA for “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region" @HouseForeign panel:https://t.co/Zf2LIMobLZ

— Paul Staniland (@pstanpolitics) October 22, 2019

“The Department has raised concerns with the Indian government regarding the detentions of local residents and political leaders, including three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir," Wells told the committee.

“We have urged Indian authorities to respect human rights and restore full access to services, including internet and mobile networks."

Wells maintained, “The security situation in Kashmir remains tense. Clashes between youth and security forces are a regular occurrence, and Indian forces killed suspected terrorists in multiple firefights last week."

She added that the U.S. welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement that terrorists who carry out violence in Kashmir are enemies of both Kashmiris and Pakistan.

The statement is the strongest reaction from the U.S. since Indian government decided to withdraw constitutional provisions on August 5 that gave Jammu and Kashmir more autonomy than any other Indian state.

In retaliation to Modi's government's move, India flooded the region with additional troops, and imposed curfew-like restrictions to keep a lid on protests.

Although many curbs, including those on movement have been eased, mobile telephone and internet connections in the Kashmir valley, home to around seven million people, remain cut off.

New Delhi insists that its move in August was essential to integrate Kashmir fully into India and bring development to the Himalayan region, but there is anger and discontent among many locals over the decision.