Indian-American US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tables bill calling for Kashmir resolution

Indian-American Democrat Congress Representative Pramila Jayapal sponsored a bipartisan resolution in the US House of Representatives calling for India to end the communication blockade and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir.

Resolution number 745, introduced by Jayapal along with Republican lawmaker Steve Watkins urges India "to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents". On the other hand, the bill also acknowledges the challenges New Delhi faces from cross-border terrorism. 

Resolution number 745, introduced by Jayapal along with Republican lawmaker Steve Watkins urges India
US Representative Pramila Jayapal. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@RepJayapal

Postpaid cellular services and landline phones have been restored in Kashmir, but Indian authorities stated the ban on more than 2 million prepaid mobile connections and internet services must continue for security reasons.

The US resolution before Congress "…urges the Government of India to lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible; swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir; refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches; allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats, and condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities."

The US House of Representatives said that while it recognises the dire security challenges faced by the Government and India in Jammu and Kashmir and the continuing threat of state-supported cross-border terrorism, the lawmakers reject the “arbitrary detention, use of excessive force against civilians, and suppression of peaceful expression of dissent as proportional responses to security challenges”.

There have been two US Congress hearings on Jammu and Kashmir so far, with India criticising the findings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s panel looking into alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir. 

"It is regrettable that a few members of the US Congress used the Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia to question the measures taken recently to safeguard life, peace and security in Kashmir," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said earlier.