Senator Bernie Sanders, a US presidential candidate and the longest serving independent in US congressional history, has called out India’s actions in Kashmir.
Speaking at the Islamic Society of North America conference on Sunday, the senator said he is “also deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir”. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan also addressed the conference via video link. The premier discussed Islamophobia and Kashmir.
Senator Sanders raised concern about the situation in Kashmir “where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked down on dissent and instituted a communications blackout”. He said the crackdown in the name of “security” is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care.
“Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indian government imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the lifesaving care that patients need,” he said, calling India’s actions “unacceptable”.
He urged that the communications blockade must be lifted “immediately”. “The United States government must speak out boldly in support on international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people,” he said.
Kashmir has been under lockdown since August 5 when India repealed Article 370 of its constitution, thereby revoking the special status granted to the valley. India has repeatedly said the issue is an internal matter but many organisations and countries have raised their voice against the human rights violations in the region.