Houston: US Senator and Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders addressing the audience at an event hosted by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) that he was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Kashmir and asked the US government to “speak out boldly” in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution to resolve the issue.
Addressing the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Houston on Saturday, the 77-year-old leader also sought an immediate end to communications blockade in Kashmir.
“India’s action is unacceptable,” Sanders said while addressing one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the country.
He said the US 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.”
“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir,” he added.
His remarks came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan – a position that was immediately backed by US President Donald Trump who had recently offered to mediate.
In an apparent backtracking from his earlier comments, Trump, while speaking to the media alongside Modi on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in France, said he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve the Kashmir issue on their own.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik last week said internet and phone services have been shut because these are more useful to terrorists and Pakistan for mobilisation of people and indoctrination of youths.
The United States had on Thursday said it is closely watching the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and continues to call for calm and restraint amid strained ties between neighbours India and Pakistan.
“We continue to be very concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of the region. We urge respect for human rights, compliance with legal procedures, and an inclusive dialogue with those affected,” a spokesperson of the US Embassy said, adding there have been reports of detentions of political leaders, human rights activists, student leaders and civilians too.
Organisers of the gathering said they invited all presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans, but only Julin Castro and Sanders came.
Source: News 18