The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md)’s renewed call to ‘reinstate the free flow of communications and desperately needed medical supplies’ in Kashmir following a round-table discussion with key Muslim leaders convened by the United Maryland Muslim Council.
In an official statement re-issued yesterday evening, Senator Cardin, who is a prominent member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in part:
“Since the evening of August 4, telecommunication networks and the internet in Jammu and Kashmir have been partially or completely shut down, creating what appears to be an attempt to cut off potential critique of Prime Minister Modi’s government.
This is unacceptable. At this time of heightened tension, it is critical that the Indian government abides by international human rights law and upholds democratic freedoms for its citizens. I hope the Indian government will hear these concerns and respect the rights of the Kashmiri people to have a voice in their political process and equal protection under the law.”
India’s Hindu nationalist government has placed the region under a military lockdown and implemented a communications blackout that has effectively crippled life in the Muslim-majority region.
The U.S. civil rights and advocacy organization is calling on members of congress to take immediate action to:
• pressure India’s government to lift the communications ban in the region
• pressure India’s government to allow UN and humanitarian agencies safe passage
• explore imposing sanctions and other recourse in response to horrific allegations of torture, rape and murder of Kashmiris by the Indian army
• consider introducing legislation affirming Kashmiri human rights
“As hundreds of Kashmiri-Americans in Maryland still seek to futilely establish contact with their loved ones, the humanitarian crisis is growing more dire with each passing day,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “Senator Cardin’s statement is a step in the right direction; Congress has the moral obligation to act immediately to prevent yet another genocide from occurring and to help de-escalate rising tensions between two nuclear powers in the region.”