Ahead of the US Congress panel hearing on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir scheduled on October 22, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has said that the communication blackout has a “devastating impact” and “it is time for India to lift these restrictions”.
In a tweet on Monday, committee said, “India’s communication blackout in Kashmir is having a devastating impact on the lives and welfare of everyday Kashmiris. It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen.”
US Congressman Brad Sherman, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia, had announced that at 10 am on October 22, the subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia”.
“Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, who oversees all State Department policy towards South Asia, will testify. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Scott Busby, who overseas human rights efforts is South Asia, will also testify. We have invited other State Department officials and we also expect to hear from private human rights activists on the issues,” said Congressman Sherman, according to a press statement.
In July, the subcommittee held a hearing on human rights in Southeast Asia. The subcommittee also anticipates holding a hearing later this year on human rights in East Asia, which will focus in large part on events in Hong Kong and the internment of the Uighur minority.
The hearing will also focus on the Kashmir valley, where many political activists have been arrested and daily life, the internet, and telephone communications have been interrupted. It will also review the humanitarian situation in Kashmir and whether Kashmiris have adequate supplies and essential items.
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“In August, I had an opportunity to meet with Americans from Kashmir Valley in the San Fernando Valley, along with my colleague Congressman André Carson (D-IN). We heard stories of difficulties encountered by my constituents and others… Since then I have had several additional meetings with Kashmiri Americans. I look forward to learning more about human rights in Kashmir,” said Sherman.
The hearing will also focus on the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the human rights situation in Pakistan, and Muslims in Assam.