U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote to President Trump raising their concerns about the ongoing situation in Kashmir and urging him to take immediate action to help end the current humanitarian crisis there.
On August 5, the Indian government unilaterally revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which afforded autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shortly before revoking Article 370, India deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to the Kashmir Valley, imposed curfews on its residents, and severed communications to the region, including access to the internet and telephones. This information blackout has severely limited access to medical services, prevented families from contacting each other, and disrupted the local economy. Press reports indicate that at least 4,000 people have subsequently been detained in Kashmir and held under the Public Safety Act – a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial – including local politicians, activists, academics and students.
With each passing day, the situation for the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore, we ask that you call upon Prime Minister Modi to fully restore telecommunications and internet services, lift the lockdown and curfew, and release Kashmiris detained pursuant to India’s revocation of Article 370. Pakistan must also end its support and safe haven for militant groups operating on its soil – including those targeting India – and refrain from taking any steps that could further destabilize Kashmir.