Another US lawmaker calls for end of Kashmir siege

Updated October 11, 2019

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A US Senator, who heads India caucus on Capitol Hill, has joined a growing group of American lawmakers in urging New Delhi to remove the curbs it has imposed on India-held Kashmir. — Photo courtesy Mark Warner Twitter
A US Senator, who heads India caucus on Capitol Hill, has joined a growing group of American lawmakers in urging New Delhi to remove the curbs it has imposed on India-held Kashmir. — Photo courtesy Mark Warner Twitter

WASHINGTON: A US Senator, who heads India caucus on Capitol Hill, has joined a growing group of American lawmakers in urging New Delhi to remove the curbs it has imposed on India-held Kashmir.

“While I understand India has legitimate security concerns, I am disturbed by its restrictions on communications and movement within Jammu and Kashmir,” Senator Mark Warner tweeted on Tuesday. “I hope India will live up to its democratic principles by allowing freedom of press, information, and political participation.”

The Senator from Virginia joins scores of senators and members of the House of Representatives who are calling for ending the Indian siege of Kashmir. Three of the senators urging India to lift its siege — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris — are candidates for the Democratic nomination for president.

Also, on Tuesday a group of American citizens of Kashmiri origin briefed 148 congressional staffers on the situation in their homeland, reminding Congress that “now is the time to act” if they want to stop India from changing the demographic balance in the held valley.

“This was first of its kind and prelude to a congressional hearing on Oct 22,” said Dr Asif Mahmood, one of the organisers.

British author and biographer Victoria Schofield who spoke as a panelist at the Congressional briefing said “a third-party mediator” was needed to resolve the issue. She said Britain faced a similar situation in Northern Ireland and brought in the US because it could not resolve the dispute without outside support. “There’s no shame in bringing in a mediator,” she said.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019