India on Thursday criticised the United States’ Congressional hearing on Jammu and Kashmir, describing the remarks made about the prevailing situation in the region as regrettable, The Indian Express reported. This came a day after the US held the first hearing to review human rights in South Asia.
“It is regrettable that a few members of the US Congress used the Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia to question the measures taken recently to safeguard life, peace, and security in Kashmir,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference. “These comments display a very limited understanding of India’s history, her pluralistic society, constitutionally guaranteed freedom, fundamental rights, and the robust institutions operating in the world’s largest democracy.”
Kumar said that the hearing should instead have focused on “state-sponsored cross-border terrorism in Kashmir”, which he said threatened the basic right to life. India had been periodically updating the US on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Kumar said, adding that they were being sensitised on “real concerns”.
“We have urged our interlocutors to bear in mind the aspect of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan while forming an opinion of the situation,” he said. The spokesperson added that India had taken note of United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells’ comments that urge Pakistan to do more to curb terrorism.
Wells on Wednesday had raised concerns about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, highlighting the communication blackout, restrictions on movement, and continued detention of political leaders in the Valley. She said the country supported the right of Kashmiris to hold peaceful protests, but condemn the actions of terrorists who undermine dialogue by using violence and fear.
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