Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has introduced a resolution pertaining to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the House of Representatives on Friday, calling for the release of all detained prisoners, restoration of internet services throughout the valley and preserving religious freedom amongst other issues.
This resolution was introduced after several weeks of intense lobbying and efforts and yet managed to find the support of only one co-sponsor-Republican Congressman Steve Watkins from Kansas. The matter will end once it has been voted upon, it doesn’t haven’t the force of law and the Senate will not be considering it.
The Indian government must quickly lift restrictions on cell phones and internet access, release arbitrarily detained people, protect free speech and peaceful protest, and condemn all religiously motivated violence at the highest levels across India.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) December 8, 2019
The resolution while recognizing the precarious security situation faced by India calls upon India to immediately release all the prisoners who have been detained unconditionally. It asked India to stop the practice of making the prisoners signing bonds before their release.
Amongst other demands that formed a part of the resolution were the issues to restoring internet connectivity to all parts of the valley and ensuring the Right to freedom of all residents.
The resolution appears to have been moved despite intense protests by the Indian-American community. The law maker received 25,000 mails against this resolution. The community also held a peaceful protest outside her office.
Some of the protesters questioned the law maker and accused her of ignoring the voices of the people even as she chose to lecture India on democratic practices.
Jayapal defended her actions and pointed out that she is a proponent of friendly ties between India and the US and was only concerned about the Human Rights situation.
An expert who didn’t want to be named said: “it is a matter of grave concern that Jayapal seems to be parroting Pakistani ISI’s narrative. The US being the World’s most powerful democracy is supporting terror activities of a failed state that effectively uses the internet to instigate violence in J&K. The US should get its house in order before lecturing India”.
Internet connectivity has been restored in the Jammu region, albeit broadband connections. In other parts of the valley, Internet kiosks have been opened to facilitate convenient utilization by the residents. The valley was shut down from August 4th to prevent disorder after the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act was passed on August 8th.
The Supreme Court of India is already considering the matter before it. Experts are of the opinion that this US Congressional resolution questions Indian sovereignty and the honour of the Supreme Court of India.