Sunday, 26 January, 2020

Envoys’ visit to Kashmir ‘important step’, says US

"Suspension of free movement Internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power" the court said
Cecil Davis | 13 January, 2020, 15:29

"We look forward to a return to normalcy", she said.

The US State Department on Saturday said that it is concerned about the detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Internet shutdown in the region. "Closely following USA ambassador to India and other foreign diplomats' recent trip to Jammu and Kashmir".

"Closely following USA ambassador to India and other foreign diplomats' recent trip to Jammu & Kashmir".

Ms Wells will reach New Delhi on Jan 15 on a three-day visit that includes talks with senior Indian officials on bilateral and regional issues. Important step. We remain concerned by detention of political leaders and residents, and Internet restrictions.

Meanwhile, a rebel group of PDP, along with other former ministers and lawmakers, met Lt. Governor Murmu on Wednesday before meeting the foreign envoys on Thursday.

In first such trip by foreign diplomats post August 5, envoys of 15 countries, including the United States, 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".

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Foreign Ministry representative Raveesh Kumar stated the diplomats got "to see first-hand the efforts that have been made by the government to normalise the situation".

Domestically, the Modi government was criticised by opposition parties for not allowing local citizens, including top political parties to visit the occupied region.

Wells is going to be visiting South Asia this week. The media reports said that they were also interested to visit Kashmir and meet people of their choice and not be part of any "guided tour" of envoys.

The supreme court also directed the Indian government to make public all orders imposing a lockdown in Kashmir in August after the constitution's Article 370 granting Kashmir special status was revoked, said the Vrinda Grover, a human rights lawyer.

Although the Indian government eased some of the curbs yet thousands remain under arrest with mobile and internet connections suspended.

According to Reuters, the clampdown has cost occupied Kashmir's economy a loss of more than $2.4 billion as sectors directly dependent on the internet with commerce and information technology the worst hit.