WASHINGTON – An Indian-American attorney has urged US lawmakers to schedule a bipartisan Congressional fact-finding mission to Kashmir, a day after a delegation of the European Union (EU) parliamentarians visited the Valley for an on the ground assessment of the situation there.
A delegation of 23 EU MPs arrived in Srinagar on Tuesday on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the Indian government revoked its special status on August 5.
In a supplemental testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, New York-based attorney Ravi Batra urged lawmakers to “schedule a bipartisan Congressional Fact Finding Mission to Kashmir”.
He suggested that the fact-finding team should include “Americans whose ancestry can add an honest and objective nuance — as that will serve to reassure every member’s constituents, and aid in hastening the lifting of all restrictions, other than those based upon credible intel of clear and present danger to India or visitors”.
Following the abrogation of Article 370, various restrictions, including ban on mobile phones and Internet, were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain law and order. The restrictions are being gradually lifted in a phased manner.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India, especially in the United States, over the Kashmir issue, which New Delhi has categorically said was its “internal matter”.
The External Affairs Ministry also cautioned foreign governments against activities of “Kashmir cells” set up by Pakistan in its missions across the world, saying the main objective of the new entities is to radicalise people through false propaganda.
In his submission, Batra said since 9/11, eradicating terror across the globe has become America’s “job number 1”
“This, however, has created a need to deal with unsavoury characters and nations…we need to push for human rights, subject only to achieving our necessary predicate: a terror-free world,” he said.
Batra, who is also the Chair of the National Advisory Council for South Asian Affairs, last week testified before the Congressional subcommittee on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region”.