US urges India to release Kashmir political leaders: The United States has urged India to release political leaders who are under detention without any charge for nearly six months in Jammu and Kashmir, following the bifurcation of the erstwhile state and dilution of Article 370 and Article 35A on August 5. The US also urged New Delhi to give regular access to its diplomats to the troubled valley.
Alice, who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, made these remarks while addressing a presser in Washington DC. She said that the recent visit by foreign diplomats of 15 countries to Jammu and Kashmir was a useful step, which according to her, received wide coverage in the press.
For the first time after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked, the Centre allowed foreign diplomats including from the US to visit Kashmir and access the ground situation. However, the trip came under fire from the Opposition which called it a guided tour to bail out the Narendra Modi government.
The group was also not allowed to meet detained three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. The trio has been under detention for the 176th consecutive day.
It was also for the first time, leaders who have stood for the accession of Kashmir to India after turbulent 1990, have faced six-month detention. Senior Abdullah, who was the three-time chief minister, was slapped with the Public Safety Act last September.
About the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Alice, who was recently on a visit to Asian nations including India, underscored the equal protection under the law that offers Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
The Modi government has been facing intense criticism with the opponents calling the law discriminatory against Muslims. Over 20 people have also been killed in the anti-CAA protesters across the country.