Communication blackout in Kashmir devastating: US House Committee

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee has expressed deep concern over prolonged communication blackout in Kashmir and urged India to lift the restrictions in the region.

It has planned to meet on October 22 to conduct a review of the human rights situation in South Asia. Kashmir will be a key area of focus during the review meeting.

Saying that the communication blackout in the region is having a “devastating effect” on the lives of Kashmiris, the committee said, “It’s time for India to lift these restrictions and afford Kashmiris the same rights and privileges as any other Indian citizen.”

The tweet from the US committee’s official account was accompanied by a New York Times report regarding the death of a 22-year-old man who was bitten by a snake and died 16 hours later as his family could not contact concerned authorities for anti-venom.

US Congressman Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia, said earlier that that hearing on October 22 will be aimed at reviewing the humanitarian situation in Kashmir and whether people living there have access to essential commodities such as food and medicine.

“The hearing will focus on the Kashmir Valley, where many political activists have been arrested and daily life, the internet, and telephone communications have been interrupted,” Sherman said in a statement.

Restrictions on communication, which were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 after scrapping Article 370, continue to be a deterrent for Kashmiris who still do not have access to proper communications.

Over 60 days have passed since the communication blackout was imposed in Kashmir along with a curfew.