DesPardes + PKonweb

Congresswoman Introduces Bill Urging India to End Restrictions in Kashmir, Respect Human Rights

Dexter Filkins and Rana Ayyub of The New Yorker tell the story of how they got into Kashmir and describe the repression and signs of torture that they observed there.

DESPARDES — Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives, urging India to lift the communication clampdown, release political detainees and “preserve religious freedom for all residents” in Jammu and Kashmir.

The bill, which was introduced on Friday, asks India to allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir, as well as swiftly release “arbitrarily detained people” in the region.

The restrictions were imposed after the Modi-led government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

The upstaging of the valley’s special status and clampdown entered 127th day today.

According to independent reports, there are soldiers on every street corner, with machine-gun nests guarded intersections. Shuttered shops and ban on Friday prayers continue.

Dexter Filkins and Rana Ayyub of The New Yorker tell the story of how they got into Kashmir and describe the repression and signs of torture that they observed there.

READ FULL STORY: Rana Ayyub on India’s Crackdown on Muslims…

The bill by the Indian-American democratic representative to the House of Representatives urges the Indian government to respect the human rights of all people and adhere to international human rights law.

It notes that the people across the United States maintain ties with family and friends in Jammu and Kashmir and have reported difficulty contacting their loved ones owing to communications blockade.

Kashmir remains world’s most militarized region — considered a nuclear flashpoint, and has lately been discussed a Climate Change hot spot of the region.

Independent observers say PM Modi’s August 5th has added another dimension to the valley — it put Kashmiris’ dignity and honor at stake.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Jayapal said she hopes to work with the Indian government and the US Congress to strengthen the US-India partnership, “while protecting the human rights of the Kashmiri people.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation “not good, not sustainable”.

“Detaining people without charge, severely limiting communications, & blocking neutral third-parties from visiting the region is harmful to our close, critical bilateral relationship,” the tweet read.