US lawmaker Adam Smith said on Wednesday that there were “legitimate concerns regarding the communication blackouts, increased militarisation and enforcement of curfews” in occupied Kashmir.
The US congressman issued a statement and spoke with India’s Ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shirngla and highlighted the current conditions affecting residents of occupied Kashmir.
““The constituents I met with all had family in Kashmir or Jammu. Some have visited the region since the change in Indian policy. They were afraid for their own lives, and terrified for the safety of their family members who remain in the region,” he said adding that they saw a region under siege with its residents isolated, without an ability to communicate at all outside of the region.
Smith urged the Indian government to take steps to reduce these fears and offer greater transparency for the world to see what is happening in occupied Kashmir.
I am committed to the protection of basic human rights and equal rights in the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir in India – read more in my statement. pic.twitter.com/3FnxfgSZwl
— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) August 21, 2019
“A commitment to the protection of basic human rights and equal rights, as well as recognition for the potential disparate impact of this decision on the region’s Muslim population and other minority groups – now and in the future – is imperative,” he said.
He further said that India’s unilateral move to strip occupied Kashmir of its autonomous status exacerbates an already tense environment in the region.
“I encourage both India and Pakistan to keep lines of communication open to prevent the further deterioration of the situation, and exercise restraint instead of engaging in rhetoric and actions that inspire extremist ideology,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had also offered to mediate the “explosive” situation in Kashmir.
Trump had said he would raise the matter over the weekend with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the pair are set to meet at the G-7 Summit in France which kicks off on August 24.
“Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have Hindus and you have the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get along so great,” Trump told reporters. “I will do the best I can to mediate,” he said.
President Trump’s statement comes in the wake of the US calling to quickly release detainees and restore basic liberties in Indian Occupied Kashmir.