WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to demonstrations in the Kashmir region following India’s action to revise the status of Jammu and Kashmir State.
“In the aftermath of India’s move to modify the legal status of its Jammu and Kashmir State, reports indicate that at least 4,000 Kashmiris have been placed in detention, including politicians, journalists, human rights defenders, protestors, and scholars. Since the evening of August 4, telecommunication networks and the internet in Jammu and Kashmir have been partially or completely shut down, creating what appears to be an attempt to cut off potential critique of Prime Minister Modi’s government. This is unacceptable. At this time of heightened tension, it is critical that the Indian government abides by international human rights law and upholds democratic freedoms for its citizens.
“I hope the Indian government will hear these concerns and respect the rights of the Kashmiri people to have a voice in their political process and equal protection under the law. Furthermore, in order to maintain peace across the Line of Control, the government of Pakistan must also avoid escalating tensions and abstain from taking irreversible retaliatory actions or inciting military infiltration.”