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US urges India to engage with Kashmiri leaders

The demand for political reforms indicates that the US is not buying India’s claim that the occupied region is in calm

The US State Department has urged India to resume political engagement with Kashmiri leaders and schedule promised elections in their occupied region as soon as possible.

In a statement to the media, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus urged India to take some key steps to bring normalcy to occupied Kashmir, which has been suffering under relentless curfew imposed on Aug 5, when New Delhi unilaterally annexed the disputed territory.

Ms Ortagus said the United States “continue(s) to be very concerned by widespread detentions, including of local political and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents” of occupied Kashmir.

The demand for political reforms, although unlikely to fully redress the grievances of the people of occupied Kashmir who want an end to India’s illegal occupation, shows Washington’s continued concern about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It also indicates that the US is not buying India’s claim that the occupied region is in calm.

On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also remains concerned by tensions in Kashmir and has urged India and Pakistan to peacefully discuss a way out of the ongoing crisis, a spokesman said.

“He appeals to both sides to deal with the issue through dialogue and, as was said by the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently, the situation in Kashmir can only be solved with the full respect of human rights.”, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said .

Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad were raised on Aug. 5, when India sent thousands of troops into the Kashmir valley, withdrew special rights for the region and cut off the area’s mobile telephone and internet connections.

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