Kashmir resolution introduced in US House of Representatives

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, an Indian origin US lawmaker, has moved a resolution in the House of Representatives urging India to “to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.”


The resolution, that is co-sponsored by Republican Congressman Steve Watkins, says, “on August 5, 2019, the Government of India cut all telephone service and internet access in Jammu and Kashmir, the 53rd time the Indian government restricted communication in Kashmir in 2019.” It explains developments leading to the partial lifting of the communication blockade saying, “Government of India announced it had restored landline phone service to Jammu and Kashmir on September 5, 2019, and partially restored cellphone service on October 14, 2019.”

The resolution further says, “60 percent of the 6,000,000 mobile subscribers in Jammu and Kashmir rely on prepaid cellphones, which remain inoperable for communication, and text messaging and mobile internet services remain suspended.” It adds, “people across the United States maintain ties with family and friends in Jammu and Kashmir and have reported difficulty contacting their loved ones since the communications blockade was imposed on August 5, 2019.”

On the subject of the brewing human rights crisis in Kashmir, the resolution says, “Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and independent reporters have documented detentions and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir;” and that, “international human rights observers have documented the police’s use of excessive force against detained people and excessive and indiscriminate use of pellet shotguns, tear gas, and rubber bullets against protesters.” As a chilling reminder of how children are perhaps the worst affected, the resolution says, “Jammu and Kashmir police have acknowledged that 144 children, as young as 9 years old, have been arrested.”

The resolution goes on to urge the government of India “to ensure 8 that any actions taken in pursuit of legitimate security priorities respect the human rights of all people 10 and adhere to international human rights law.” The resolution makes the following requests:

(A)   lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible;

(B)   refrain from the use of threats and excessive force against detained people and peaceful protesters;

(C)   swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir;

(D)   refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches;

(E)    allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats;

(F)    condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.

The entire resolution may be read here:

Previously, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had also raised concerns about the situation in Kashmir. In a statement on September 13, 2019 Tlaib had said, “While I have deep respect for India and its important relationship with the United States, I condemn the Indian government’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A, the communications blockade it has imposed, its suppression of life-saving medical care, and the reports of widespread violence, torture, and other human rights violations being carried out in Jammu and Kashmir.” The entire statement may be read here.

In November, Tlaib moved a resolution before the House of Representatives “condemning the human rights violations taking place in Jammu and Kashmir and supporting Kashmiri self-determination.”

Tlaib’s resolution said, “Government of India has unilaterally changed the status of Jammu and Kashmir without a direct consultation or the consent of the Kashmiri people.” It added, “Government of India has used the arrest and indefinite detention of thousands of people to control civilians of all ages, including minors as young as nine, in Jammu and Kashmir using the Public Safety Act, which violates article 9(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;”and that “Government of India has detained Kashmiri civil society leaders of all political perspectives without charge or trial.” The entire text of Tlaib’s resolution may be read here.



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