U.S. urges easing of restrictions and political engagement in Kashmir

September 06, 2019 07:45 am | Updated December 03, 2021 08:15 am IST - Washington DC

A Kashmiri woman walks on a deserted road during restrictions in Srinagar on August 25, 2019.

A Kashmiri woman walks on a deserted road during restrictions in Srinagar on August 25, 2019.

The U.S. government has expressed its continuing concern over the situation in Kashmir following India’s abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 , a move which stripped the State’s special status, and the ensuing restrictions in place in the region.

 

“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,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Ms. Ortagus’s comments were emailed to The Hindu .

“We are also concerned about reports that Internet and mobile phone access continues to be blocked in certain regions,” she said.

“We urge the 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,” she stated.

The U.S. has , since August 5, been monitoring the situation in Kashmir and made comments and released statements, both from Washington DC and New Delhi on the issue.

The Indian Embassy in Washington DC had also consistently sent out a message that Article 370 is an internal matter of India, that it was undertaken for socio-economic development and good governance reasons and that restrictions are being progressively eased.

"Some of our detractors are spreading false rumors, including through the U.S. media and it is malicious in nature,” Indian Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla told TheWashington Times .

Earlier in the week, the Indian Embassy released a video in which Mr. Shringla said, the media, especially the U.S. media, were putting out “half-truths, untruths, factually incorrect information".

The most widely-circulated U.S. newspapers and media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal , USA Today , The Washington Post and The New York Times have carried reports highlighting the difficulties caused by the current restrictions in Kashmir.

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