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World

APP
February 20, 2020

US congressmen express concern over IoK lockdown, urge India to release detainees

World

APP
Thu, Feb 20, 2020
US Congressmen Ami Bera and George Holding. Photo: APP

ISLAMABAD: US Congressmen Ami Bera and George Holding have expressed concern over the grim situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, insisting that the Narendra Modi government should release political detainees and restore normalcy in the territory at the earliest, reported Kashmir Media Service.

According to the publication, Bera, Democrat Chair of Asia Pacific Group of House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Congress, and Republican Holding, who is co-chair of the India Caucus, made the remarks during their ongoing visit to India.

Bera told reporters in New Delhi that they were keen on bringing a US congressional delegation to occupied Kashmir. “We have expressed our concern on the continued detention of political leaders in Kashmir. We would like to see an early return to normalcy there,” he said.

Holding expressed a similar sentiment. “A stable political situation in Kashmir is important for its economic development. Increasing economic development in Kashmir is important,” he said.

The comments come days ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India on February 24 and 25. In the past, Trump had repeatedly offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the occupied Kashmir dispute.

Bera also expressed concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act, a controversial law that has sparked protests across India over the last three months. Several member of the US Congress have already termed the law, which deprives Muslims of Indian citizenship as “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional”.

The Indian government had scrapped the special status of occupied Kashmir on August 5th last year, imposing a lockdown on the territory and taking thousands of Kashmiris into custody to prevent demonstrations against the move.