Despite New Delhi’s tough-looking posture regarding its activities in India-held Kashmir, it is quite apparent that international reactions to the Modi government’s brutal tactics in the region are beginning to hurt.
For one, it is clear that India’s ill-advised move of annexing occupied Kashmir by changing its constitutional status has not altered the status quo internationally; much of the world still considers Kashmir a disputed territory, exposing India’s fiction that the troubles in occupied valley are an ‘internal matter’.
The Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is facing a “humanitarian crisis” and India’s Aug 5 decision to annex the “disputed” territory has been a “disaster” for Kashmiris, observes a US Congressional panel.
These observations were made at a daylong hearing of a House subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on Tuesday, described by the Indian media as “the most critical examination that any Indian action has received in a panel of US House of Representatives since the 1998 nuclear tests.”
At least, three lawmakers, Ilhan Omar, Tom Malinowski and David Cicilline, asked US officials testifying before the panel, whether the Indian government’s motivation behind the recent Kashmir decision was national security or an ultra-nationalist and majoritarian agenda.
Congressman Cicilline asked if Indian security forces had used pellet guns on Kashmiris after Aug 5 and whether children blinded by these guns were away and their families did not know where they were. Ms Wells promised to look into the report.
The panel’s chairman, Congressman Brad Sherman, questioned India’s claim that it cut-off Kashmir from the rest of the world to prevent cross-border terrorist attacks.
Mr Sherman asked whether there had been any “verified cross-border terrorism” incidents since Aug 5, when India changed the status of occupied Kashmir.
The first Indian-American Congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal and Congressman Sherman mentioned that a Kashmiri American, Mujahid Shah, whose father, a businessman, had been detained despite no political links.
The hearing was titled ‘Human Rights in South Asia’, but the overwhelming number of questions related to Kashmir. The packed room broke into applause whenever a lawmaker or US official criticised Indian actions in Kashmir.