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Young, Van Hollen, Cardin, Graham Urge Trump to Act on Kashmir Crisis

September 15, 2019
By

Senator Young 7-7-19Thursday U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote to President Trump raising their concerns about the ongoing situation in Kashmir and urging him to take immediate action to help end to the current humanitarian crisis there. Sovereignty over the historical state of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan, has been a point of debate and occasionally conflict between the two nations since 1947.

“On August 5, the Indian government unilaterally revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which afforded autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shortly before revoking Article 370, India deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to the Kashmir Valley, imposed curfews on its residents, and severed communications to the region, including access to the internet and telephones,” the Senators wrote. “This information blackout has severely limited access to medical services, prevented families from contacting each other, and disrupted the local economy. Press reports indicate that at least 4,000 people have subsequently been detained in Kashmir and held under the Public Safety Act – a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial – including local politicians, activists, academics and students.”

“The United States has a vital role to play in facilitating a resolution to this humanitarian crisis, and we urge you to act swiftly. Once the urgent humanitarian situation has been addressed, we hope the United States can play a constructive role in helping resolve the underlying disputes between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan,” the Senators continued.

The full text of the letter is available below and here.

Dear President Trump,

We write to express our concern regarding the situation in Kashmir, which has grave implications for democracy, human rights and regional stability. While we support your goal of working with the parties to help find a long-term resolution to the status of Kashmir, we write now to urge you to immediately facilitate an end to the current humanitarian crisis there. In keeping with your offer of assistance in July, we believe that U.S. engagement with India will be critical in providing relief for the all of the people of Kashmir.

On August 5, the Indian government unilaterally revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which afforded autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shortly before revoking Article 370, India deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to the Kashmir Valley, imposed curfews on its residents, and severed communications to the region, including access to the internet and telephones. This information blackout has severely limited access to medical services, prevented families from contacting each other, and disrupted the local economy. Press reports indicate that at least 4,000 people have subsequently been detained in Kashmir and held under the Public Safety Act – a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial – including local politicians, activists, academics and students.

With each passing day, the situation for the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore, we ask that you call upon Prime Minister Modi to fully restore telecommunications and internet services, lift the lockdown and curfew, and release Kashmiris detained pursuant to India’s revocation of Article 370. Pakistan must also end its support and safe haven for militant groups operating on its soil – including those targeting India – and refrain from taking any steps that could further destabilize Kashmir.

The United States has a vital role to play in facilitating a resolution to this humanitarian crisis, and we urge you to act swiftly. Once the urgent humanitarian situation has been addressed, we hope the United States can play a constructive role in helping resolve the underlying disputes between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan.

 

Sincerely,

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