US concerned for thousands of detainees in occupied Kashmir
WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday said it was concerned over the current situation in occupied Kashmir, and scores of people being detained without charges by Indian authorities.
This was stated by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells in a statement submitted to the subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The US State Department remains concerned about the situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir Valley, where daily life for the nearly eight million residents has been severely impacted since August 5,” Wells told the Congressional subcommittee a day before the hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region”.
“… the Valley has not returned to normal,” Wells said, adding the State Department has raised concerns with the Indian government regarding detentions of residents and political leaders, including three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.
“While exact figures are difficult to ascertain, we understand several thousand people have been detained many without charges – under the Public Safety Act- over the past two months…,” the top US diplomat said.
“We have urged Indian authorities to respect human rights and restore full access to services, including internet and mobile networks,” she said. Postpaid mobile service has been restored in the valley, but internet access remains intermittent, Wells said.