US Senator Bernie Sanders Lends Support To Kashmir Cause; Says Indian Blockade Unacceptable

Pakistan PM Imran Khan and US Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday lend their support to the people of Kashmir who have been living under lockdown for almost a month in the Kashmir Valley.

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Speaking at the event, Sanders, a Democratic presidential hopeful for the US Elections 2020, termed India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir as “unacceptable”.

“I am also deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked down on dissent and instituted a communications blackout.

“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 life-saving care that patients need,” he said.

“The communications blockade must be lifted immediately and the United States government must speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people,” the senator stated.

Pm Khan in his address, via video link, spoke about the need to understand the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party — said to be a parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I am trying my best but from ISNA’s platform, you have to make the concerted effort to make people understand this phenomenon which has taken over India. You have to make the Western societies understand the RSS.”

“We fear in Pakistan that we are not dealing with a rational government in India,” Khan stated, adding: “We believe that the sort of oppression they will do in Kashmir and are already doing, they will need to divert the world’s attention to Pakistan and we believe as they did in February, they will take some sort of an action, an attack in Pakistan.”

Khan said that he had asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play its role. Additionally, he said he would raise the issue at the United Nations General Assembly. He urged ISNA to make people aware of what was going on in India.

Earlier, the United States had on Thursday said that it was “very concerned” about the reports of detentions and restrictions imposed on Jammu and Kashmir residents. The comments came three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met United States President Donald Trump at the G-7 summit in France, where Trump said that the Indian prime minister had the Kashmir situation “under control”.

These developments come ahead of PM Modi’s visit to New York for the 74th session of the General Assembly later this month.

India, however, has said that the decisions it has taken for the region of Jammu and Kashmir are its internal matter. At the G-7 summit, Modi had rejected any possibility of a third party mediating in the Kashmir dispute as it was a bilateral matter for India and Pakistan.