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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Kashmir reaches US Congress: Rashida Tlaib raised voice against Indian atrocities

US Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, issued a press statement to condemn the heightened human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir and urged the Indian government to lift the curfew and restore normalcy. She pressed the US government to help restore autonomy in Kashmir.

US Senators and lawmakers have voiced their concerns over the heightening human rights abuses committed by the Indian occupation forces in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

US Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter to address her concerns, and condemn New Delhi’s unlawful decision to abolish the special constitutional privileges of occupied Kashmir, imposing an unprecedented communications blackout, and denying medical care facilities alongside restricting the movement of unarmed Kashmiris.

The Congresswoman has urged the US government to support a UN-backed peaceful resolution to restore the autonomy and the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir.

India’s Unacceptable Actions in Kashmir

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s office issued a press release, outlining her stance on the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir. She condemned the use of violence, torture tactics and the communications blockade that has denied Kashmiris the right to remain connected with their family and loved ones.

Rashida Tlaib 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 US Congresswoman continued, “These unacceptable actions strip Kashmiris of their human dignity, put millions of people in danger, and seriously undermine democracy in India and Kashmir. People should not have to fear unjust detention, rape, or torture because of who they are and what they believe.”

Narrating the sentiments she witnessed during her meetings with Kashmiri residents in Michigan who are unable to contact their families in Kashmir and ensure their safety, Tlaib condemned the heightened wave of violence, militarization, and occupation in the valley. She said, “Jammu and Kashmir is already one of the most militarized regions on Earth, and India’s recent actions create more instability and heighten the potential for accelerating violence.”

Rashida Tlaib noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) released two reports in 2018 and 2019, which raised concerns over the human rights violations committed by armed groups and state security forces in occupied Kashmir. The US Congresswoman noted the OHCHR reports also indicated human rights violations in Azad Kashmir, however, these violations are “of a different caliber or magnitude and of a more structural nature.”

Acts of sexual violence and enforced disappearances of civilians, allegedly by Indian security forces, represent serious human rights concerns in Jammu and Kashmir.

Criticizing Indian draconian law, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which provides immunity to the Indian troops from prosecution for human rights violations, Tlaib condemned it for being “a key obstacle to accountability and perpetuates their disproportionate use of force.”

The US Congresswoman said, “The use of pellet shotguns and tear gas as crowd-control mechanisms has injured and maimed many Kashmiris, including children.  Moreover, reports indicate that the Indian government has curtailed access to life-saving medical care for the Kashmiri people, creating shortages of medicine and restricting travel to doctors and pharmacies.”

Sexual Violence, Enforced Disappearances

Rashida Tlaib added, “Multiple reports indicate that over 3,000 people have been indefinitely detained without charges by the Indian government under the Public Safety Act, including children, lawyers, doctors, religious leaders, and opposition political leaders.

Highlighting the heightened sexual violence, gang rape cases and enforced disappearances, the US Congresswoman condemned the Indian state’s failure to ensure transparency in investigating such cases.

Read more: Nehru is a ‘criminal’ for granting special status to Kashmir: BJP lawmaker

She said, “Acts of sexual violence and enforced disappearances of civilians, allegedly by Indian security forces, represent serious human rights concerns in Jammu and Kashmir. The state’s failure to adequately investigate the gang rape of 23 women in the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora mass rape case, allegedly perpetrated by Indian army soldiers, is emblematic of the overriding lack of concern for the due process rights of victims and the climate of impunity for sexual violence. Allegations of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir have also not been credibly investigated, according to human rights organizations.”

Addressing the Narendra Modi-led Indian government, the US Congresswoman said, “I urge the Indian government to accept responsibility for the human rights violations being carried out in Jammu and Kashmir and hold the responsible parties accountable. India and Pakistan both must begin implementing the OHCHR recommendations from its 2018 and 2019 reports on the crisis.”

The US Congresswoman urged New Delhi to put an immediate end to the curfew and communications blackout and to free the thousands of innocent Kashmiris who have been detained without a charge or trial.

Read more: US Lawmakers demand India to ensure transparency in Kashmir

She said, “The communications blockade and all curfew restrictions must be lifted immediately to shed light on what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir.  India must afford due process to the thousands of people it has detained without charge, and ensure hospitals have the necessary access to life-saving medicine.”

Addressing the Trump administration, Tlaib said, “The United States government should support a United Nations-backed peaceful resolution that restores autonomy and ensures the self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  We cannot lose sight of the millions of Kashmiri people yearning to live in peace and dignity. “