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Restore internet, free detainees in Jammu and Kashmir : US moves resolution, to be put to vote

Jammu And Kashmir

Washington, Dec 8: A bipartisan resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives has urged India to immediately lift the restrictions on communication, restore internet and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir.

Resolution number 745 was introduced on Friday by Indian-American Democrat lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, along with Republican lawmaker Steve Watkins. The draft resolution has been referred to the House foreign affairs committee for examination. The committee will scrutinise the resolution and may amend the text if required. Then it will be put to vote in the house.

The Narendra Modi government imposed restrictions on Kashmiris in Jammu and Kashmir after Home Minister Amit Shah diluted Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 , 2019 and bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

It has been more than four months now since political leaders, including three former chief ministers, were detained in Jammu and Kashmir, following the revocation of Article 370 under the Constitution that gave autonomy to the state.It was reported in media in September that around 6000 have been detained including businessman, politicians, lawyers and people who can influence masses.

The resolution which is yet to sail through the floor test of the House read, “…Urges the Government of India to lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible; swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir; refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches; allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats, and condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.”

This is the second resolution in the national legislature of the US on Kashmir. Another democrat and US representative, Rashida Talib introduced a resolution on Nov 22 that criticised the actions of the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir.

These resolutions are of a non-binding in nature and only act as an instrument of expression of the sentiment of the US legislature on an issue.

The bill urges the Indian government to ensure that any actions taken in pursuit of legitimate security priorities respect the human rights of all people and adhere to international human rights law.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Jayapal said that 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.”
“As the world’s largest democracy, India shares a unique and important relationship with the United States. I’m proud to have lived my own life in the world’s two greatest democracies—as a citizen of India for 35 years, and now as a proud American citizen and member of Congress,” Jayapal tweeted.


“I have fought to strengthen the special U.S.-India relationship, which is why I’m deeply concerned. Detaining people without charge, severely limiting communications, & blocking neutral third-parties from visiting the region is harmful to our close, critical bilateral relationship,” the following tweet read. 

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