Expressing concerns over situation in Kashmir in a bipartisan letter, the foreign affairs committee of the United States Congress on Thursday said that the situation in the region of Jammu and Kashmir has not normalised.
Marking the first anniversary of Abrogation of Article 370 of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chairman of the committee Eliot L. Engel and ranking member Michael T. McCaul wrote in the letter, “we note with concern that conditions in Jammu and Kashmir have not normalised one year after India’s repeal of Article 370 and the establishment of Jammu and Kashmir as Union Territory.”
The House Foreign Affairs Committee shared the letter on their twitter and wrote, “Chairman @RepEliotEngel and Ranking Member @RepMcCaul express bipartisan support for the U.S.- India relationship while noting their concern that one year after the revocation of article 370, things have yet to normalize in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Earlier in August last year, the Modi led government abrogated Articles 370 and 35A revoking Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and bifurcated the state into two union territories. The authorities enforced a military lockdown and blocked all communication in the region to quell the voices of dissent.
The letter addressed to External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishakar says that the committee looks forward to working with the Indian government “to address these concerns”.
Notably, hours before the US committee letter, Indian Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the site of Babri Masjid which was demolished by a Hindu mob in 1992.
This has evoked strong reactions from secular and democratic voices who said that the decision to construct the temple has hurt India’s foundational values.