–Congress members say ‘constituents have painted a much different picture of the situation than what India shared with them’
WASHINGTON: United States Congressmen on Saturday penned a letter to the Indian ambassador in Washington requesting more specific information pertaining to the human rights violation in occupied Kashmir.
The US lawmakers called upon the Indian Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla earlier this month to discuss the lockdown and communicate blockade in the occupied region.
The congressmen raised concerns about the abrogation of Article 370 as well as the communication blackout, arrests of politicians and activists and the draconian curfew.
“As we discussed during the meeting, many of our constituents have painted a much different picture of the situation than what you shared with us,” the letter read, followed by several questions.
The US lawmakers asked when the communication barrier would be lifted and when internet access would fully be restored.
“How many people have been detained under the Public Safety Act or other legal provisions since August 5? Please be as specific as possible,” the next question read.
The congressmen also questioned when the government will allow residents to return to “uninhibited movement”.
They also criticised the use of pellet guns for crowd control by authorities, questioning whether there are any known cases of protesters being blinded by rubber bullets.
The US officials urged the Indian government to provide access to Congress members and foreign journalists into the occupied valley.
“We believe true transparency can only be achieved when journalists and Members of Congress are allowed free access to the region. We encourage India to open Jammu and Kashmir to both domestic and foreign journalists, and other international visitors, in the interest of open media and increased communication,” the letter concluded.