Published: Mon, January 13, 2020
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USA concern on J&K detentions, Internet curbs

USA concern on J&K detentions, Internet curbs

The United States (US) has aired concern over the detention of political leaders and residents as well as internet restrictions in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, tweeted on Saturday that she was "closely following" the visit of the envoys to Kashmir, describing it an "important step". "Important step", said the diplomat in a tweet on the US State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs official Twitter account.

"Closely following USAmbIndia and other foreign diplomats' recent trip to Jammu and Kashmir".

Wells was referring to the Indian government-organised two-day trip to the occupied region last week.

In first such trip by foreign diplomats post August 5, envoys of 15 countries, including the USA, visited the Kashmir valley on Thursday where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as military top brass with the Indian government rejecting criticism that it was a "guided tour".

Al Jazeera reported that diplomats from the European Union countries backed out of the trip as they wanted to reach out to their contacts on ground and visit areas that weren't in the Indian government-prepared itinerary which was organised by the Indian ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and Defence.

Diplomats from EU, Australia and Gulf were also expected to be part of the delegation but eventually dropped out.

India had imposed several restrictions, including internet ban, in Jammu and Kashmir after it revoked Article 370 from the state and bifurcated it into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Kashmir has been witnessing one of the longest internet shutdowns in the world since abrogation of Article 370.

"We demand that the government allows unfettered access to J&K to all politicians and not resort to guided tours for envoys", he said.

The court ordered the government to review, using this rule of proportionality, all restrictions that have been placed upon Jammu and Kashmir, and publish the results of the review within one week. The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, mostly from extreme right or right-wing parties, among those, four members did not travel to Kashmir and had reportedly returned to their respective countries.

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