WASHINGTON: In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, four US senators—two from the Democratic Party and two from the Republican Party—have urged an assessment of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and Indian annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
According to The Week, Senators Chris Van Hollen, Todd Young, Dick Durbin, and Lindsey Graham wrote: “More than six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government unilaterally revoked the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, the government continues to block most internet in the region.”
India stripped the Muslim-majority region of its special status through the abrogation of Article 370 and clamped down on communication and freedom of movement in August last year. The held valley has remained under a 24/7 curfew ever since. Many political leaders, including three former chief ministers, are still in detention without charge, six months after the crackdown.
“India has now imposed the longest-ever internet shut down by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Hundreds of Kashmiris remain in preventive detention, including key political figures.”
These actions have “serious consequences”, they observed, adding that there needed to be an assessment of the number of individuals detained, the government of India’s restrictions on communications in Jammu and Kashmir, the restrictions on religious freedom in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and the number of people who could be made stateless if the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, comes into action.
This letter comes ahead of Trump’s state visit to India on Feb 24 and 25 at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi.