New Delhi: The United States has yet again expressed concern over the continuing detention of mainstream Kashmiri leaders following the abrogation of Article 370 (Which grants special status to Kashmir). Morgan Ortagus, US state department spokesperson stated explicitly that India should hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon.
“We continue to be very concerned by widespread detentions, including of local political and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of the region. We are also concerned about reports that internet and mobile phone access continues to be blocked in certain regions,” Ortagus reportedly said in a statement.
Furthermore, she asked the Indian authorities to schedule elections at the earliest. “We urge authorities to respect human rights and restore access to services such as the internet and mobile networks. We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of promised elections at the earliest opportunity.”
Post Modi-Trump meet last month, this is the second time the United States has expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. On August 30, a US Embassy spokesperson in Delhi had expressed similar concerns.
“We continue to be very concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of the region. We urge respect for human rights, compliance with legal procedures, and inclusive dialogue with those affected,” an Embassy spokesperson had stated, adding there have been reports of detentions of political leaders, human rights activists, student leaders, and civilians too.
As a ‘precautionary measure’, J&K’s mainstream politicians Omar Abdullah (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) have been sent to police custody ever since the Modi government announced to withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
On August 26, PM Modi at a meeting with US President Donald Trump had clearly stated that ‘all issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral in nature’. “India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and I’m confident that we can discuss our problems and solve them, together. All issues between India & Pakistan are bilateral in nature, that is why we don’t bother any other country regarding them,” the Prime Minister had said in a joint press conference with the US president.
President Trump said, “The Prime Minister really feels that he has the situation under control… I have a very good relationship with both the gentlemen (PM Modi and Imran Khan) and I’m here. I think they can do it (resolve the issue) themselves”.