Days before U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India , four Senators, who have described themselves as “longtime friends of India”, have written to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for an assessment of the situation in Kashmir as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC).
The letter dated February 12 is co-signed by Democrats Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) and Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Republicans Todd Young (Indiana) and Trump ally Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).
“We write as longtime friends of India regarding some of the troubling actions taken by the current government,” the Senators write. “India has now imposed the longest-ever internet shut down by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Hundreds of Kashmiris remain in ‘preventative detention’, including key political figures.”
The letter asks for an assessment in 30 days of the number of individuals detained in connection with Article 370 and “whether detainees endure torture or other forms of mistreatment”.
It also asks for an assessment of restrictions on religious freedoms and communications in Jammu and Kashmir, access to the region by independent observers, foreign journalists, foreign diplomats, consular agents and international organisations and NGOs.
Finally, the letter seeks an assessment of, “the number of individuals... at risk of statelessness, arbitrary deprivation or denial of nationality, expulsion or arbitrary detention pursuant to the Government of India’s latest National Register of Citizens list, and any excessive use of force by Indian authorities against demonstrators opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act.”