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US Congressman expresses concern over human rights situation in Kashmir

A prominent American Congressman has expressed concern over the human rights situation in Kashmir and emphasized that the US government must make clear that it expects better democracies like India.

The remarks by Congressman Andy Levin — a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation — came during a virtual Congressional briefing organized by the Indian American Muslim Council and 16 other groups on Wednesday.

The Democratic Party Congressman emphasized the need for the US to take a clear stance on India’s human rights violations and make clear that “the US cares about what happens in Kashmir and that we expect better of democracies like India.” India has repeatedly rejected criticism by foreign governments, lawmakers, and human rights groups on allegations that civil liberties have eroded in the country.

The government has asserted that India has well-established democratic practices and robust institutions to safeguard the rights of all.

The government has emphasized that the Indian Constitution provides for adequate safeguards under various statutes for ensuring the protection of human rights.

Quoting reports of various human rights groups documenting the rights abuses and intensified crackdown in Kashmir after revoking its special autonomous status, Levin cautioned that abuses were “not happening in a vacuum… these abuses are part of a worrying trend towards authoritarianism.”

The Indian Parliament had revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating the state into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.

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