WASHINGTON – India’s communication blackout is having a “devastating impact” on the lives and welfare of the people of Kashmir, a powerful US Congressional Committee has said, urging New Delhi to lift its more than two-month long restrictions in the Valley.
“India’s communication blackout in Kashmir is having a devastating impact on the lives and welfare of everyday Kashmiris,” House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a tweet on Monday.
“Its time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen,” it said.
The House committee comes nearly a month after Indian-American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, along with 13 other US Congressmen, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir and lift the communications blackout.
The Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on human rights in Kashmir and other parts of South Asia on October 22.
Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Normal life has remained affected in Kashmir for over months as main markets continue to be shut and public transport off the roads.
Mobile services remain suspended in Kashmir except in Handwara and Kupwara areas in the north, while Internet services – across all platforms continued to be snapped in the Valley since August 5.
Top US Senator Disturbed By Restrictions In Kashmir