U.S. Senator Denied Permission by India to Visit Indian-Occupied Kashmir

Trouble in Kashmir. Photo: Congress
Trouble in Kashmir. Photo: Congress

As the Modi government has annexed Kashmir, the UN and the U.S. are expected to impose sanctions on India which may include trade and travel bans on Indians.

By Rakesh Raman

A United States (U.S) Senator from the Democratic Party has claimed that the Indian authorities denied him permission to visit Kashmir, which has been forcefully occupied by the Indian security forces.

Senator Chris Van Hollen – who was in India – said he wanted to visit Srinagar in Kashmir to assess the extent of human rights violations being committed by India, but he was not allowed to go to the troubled valley.

According to a report published Saturday (October 5) in The Washington Post, Van Hollen is one of 50 members of U.S. Congress who have expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

The Senator said that the Indian government did not want him to see what is happening in Kashmir, adding that if you have nothing to hide then there is nothing to fear by allowing visitors to travel in Kashmir.

[ Also Read: Why Trump Won’t Help Muslims of Indian Occupied Kashmir ]

Currently, Kashmir is facing extreme human rights violations being committed by the Indian security forces, as the government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has abrogated Article 370 which gave special privileges to the people of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

Expecting backlash from the Kashmiris, the Modi government had imposed curfew in Kashmir and millions of people (most of them are Muslims) have been locked in their homes since August 4, a day before revoking Article 370 for J&K.

[ Also Read: Michelle Bachelet Asks India to Restore Human Rights of Kashmiris ]

The Modi government is also not allowing the press to cover the burning situation in Kashmir, and did not allow opposition leaders in India to visit the troubled valley.

Recently, Pakistan PM Imran Khan – who was speaking at the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) Session in New York – said that he has specially come to attend UNGA so that he could highlight the human rights violations that Muslims in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) are facing.

He said that Modi is influenced by the hate-filled ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that was responsible for the assassination of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi.

As the Modi government has annexed Kashmir, now it is under the occupation of Indian security forces that – according to Imran Khan – have killed 100,000 Kashmiris and raped 11,000 women.

[ Also Read: U.S. May Again Cancel Modi’s Visa for Gujarat Riots and Mob Violence ]

While India asserts that Pakistan is supporting terrorism in Kashmir, Pakistan vehemently refutes such allegations. It is largely believed that the locals who attack the Indian security forces with stones or other homemade weapons are not terrorists, but they are are victims of the torture unleashed by the security forces that enjoy complete immunity under AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) law.

A number of human rights reports indicate that the Indian soldiers are misusing AFSPA to terrorize people of Kashmir and rape Kashmiri girls and women. Imran Khan said that Indian security personnel forcefully enter the homes of Kashmiri women to rape them. “The world has not done anything to end human rights violations in Indian-Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (J&K),” he complained.

[ Also Read: 50 Days of Oppression by Modi Govt in Kashmir: Congress ]

He also warned that if the world community did not act to tame Modi – who is also responsible for the Gujarat riots of 2002 in which thousands of Muslims were murdered by RSS goons – then the current conflict between India and Pakistan can take the shape of a nuclear war.

Recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his concern over reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir, which – he said – could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.

Similarly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that India should restore human rights of the people of Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Members of the European Union (EU) Parliament have demanded sanctions on India including trade and travel ban over human rights violations by the Modi government in Kashmir. The UN and the U.S. are also expected to impose sanctions on India which may include trade and travel bans on Indians.

[ Also Read: Nobel Prize Laureates Condemn PM Modi for Human Rights Abuses ]

It is stated that India has deployed nearly 900,000 security people to control unarmed Kashmiris (nearly 80% are Muslims), and nearly 80,000 civilians have been killed in the conflicts during the past 7 decades.

The Modi government’s annexation of Kashmir is a unilateral, authoritarian move, which is expected to make Kashmir a veritable inferno because most people of Kashmir do not want to live under the Indian rule where Modi is the ruler.

Today, nearly 2 billion Muslims of the world expect the global community – including the U.S. – to save the Muslims of Kashmir who are being treated as slaves by the Modi government.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.

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Rakesh Raman