US Senator Keen to See Kashmir ‘First Hand’, Denied Entry

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United States Senator Chris Van Hollen – File Pic

NEW DELHI – In a first, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has called for an end to what it has described as a “humanitarian crisis” and lift all restrictions and release detainees in Kashmir.

Expression of concern

“This amendment, which was accepted unanimously by the bipartisan committee, is a strong expression of concern by the Senate about the situation in Kashmir and sends the signal that we are closely monitoring the human rights situation there, and would like to see the Government of India take those concerns seriously,” Mr. Van Hollen told The Hindu newspaper on Saturday.

Denied Permission 

Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who represents Maryland, is one of almost 50 Congress members who have expressed concern and wanted to assess the situation ‘first-hand’ after the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution but was refused permission.

Hollen is the first US Congressman to have been denied the permission by the PM Modi-led BJP government.

“I wanted to visit Kashmir to see first-hand what was happening, but was not allowed by the Indian government. We had approached the government about a week ago, but were told it was not the right time to go there”, The Indian Express quoted Hollen as saying.

Why Worry If Nothing To Hide

“If the Indian government has nothing to hide, they should not worry about people visiting Kashmir and witnessing the situation with their own eyes,” Hollen told the Washington Post.

He added,“I think this is a moment where transparency is important.”

Letter To Trump

In a letter addressed to Trump, Senators Hollen, Todd Young, Ben Cardin and Lindsay Graham said, “With each passing day, the situation for the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult.”

“Therefore, we ask that you call upon Prime Minister (Narendra) 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,” stated the letter, a copy of which was released to the press.

No Response From MEA

There has been no response from the Ministry of External Affairs in connection with Hollen’s claims of his inability to visit Kashmir.  (Agencies)


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