A key senator from the United States Democratic Party, Chris Van Hollen, wanted to visit occupied Kashmir to see the situation first-hand but the Indian government denied him permission to go there.
Known for his views on the situation in Kashmir, Chris Van Hollen is the first US Congressman to have been denied permission by the Indian government after the repeal of the special status of the occupied territory by the Indian government on August 5, as per Kashmir Media Service.
Born in Karachi and having gone to school in Kodaikanal town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu while his father served as an American diplomat in Sri Lanka, Van Hollen has been clued into the Indian politics. Despite being refused permission to visit Kashmir, he went to India and met officials and key members of civil society in Delhi on Thursday and Friday.
Speaking to media persons in New Delhi, he said, “I wanted to visit Kashmir to see first-hand what was happening, but was not allowed by the Indian government. We had approached the government about a week ago, but were told it was not the right time to go there.”
Van Hollen, who has travelled across India but never been to occupied Kashmir, said, “I had thought it would be useful to go there and see the situation myself. My personal view is that if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear by allowing visitors to the territory. I can only conclude that the Indian government doesn’t want us to see what’s happening out there.”