Four top US senators have expressed their concern about the internet restrictions in Kashmir which have been happening for more than six months (after scrapping down of Art 370 and Art 35A of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir by allowing it to have its flag, own Constitution, liberty to make its laws, and provided separate set of laws for its residents) by writing to Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State. The concern has been expressed ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit by the end of this month.
The senators also voiced their worry for the “preventive detention” of the political leaders of Kashmir Several politicians and activists such as Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti who were the former Chief Ministers of Kashmir have been held without trial. Both Mufti and Abdullah have been charged with Public Safety Act which “allows detention without trial for up to three months and multiple extensions.” The senators in their letter said, “these actions have severe consequences.”
The letters written by two Democrats and two Republicans, pointed out, saying that India, now has “imposed the longest ever internet shutdown by a democracy” which has led to preventing any proper access to education, business and also medical facilities of 7 million people.
The Senators also mentioned the recent anti-Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) protests that have been happening in the country. The Act seeks to give citizenship to Hindus, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, Christian and other religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan if they faced “religious persecution” in their own countries and came to India before 31st December 2014.
The Senators commented about the CAA in their letter and said that the steps taken by the Indian government threaten India’s secular nature and “the rights of certain religious minorities.” The US has been observing the situation in J&K and the anti-CAA protests in India and expressed its concern over the issues in the past as well.