US diplomat urges central to release political leaders under detention also stresses on CAA

Foreign diplomats from 15 countries had visited J&K earlier this month for the first time since the central government revoked the state’s special status


NEW DELHI| On Friday after visiting Jammu and Kashmir, one of the American top diplomat said the visit was a success. The diplomat urges New Delhi to release “political leaders detained without charge”. The lockdown was imposed in the region from last August.

Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said in a news briefing in Washington DC, “I was pleased to see some incremental steps, including the partial return of internet service in Kashmir. And the visit by our ambassador and other foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir is something that I know was extensively covered in the press. We see this as a useful step”.

She further added, “We also continue to urge the government to permit regular access by our diplomats, and to move swiftly to release those political leaders detained without charge”.

Foreign diplomats from 15 countries had visited Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month for the first time since the central government revoked the state’s special status in August and changed it to a union territory. Some European nations and others declined to go after being refused permission to travel independently.

The diplomats were not given permission to meet the Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti former Chief Ministers of J&K. These are the prominent leaders of Jammu and Kashmir since ages and have been dominating the region.

Jammu and Kashmir have partial access to internet services as order given by Supreme court. The Jammu and Kashmir internet shutdown is the world’s largest shutdown ever. The government gave clarity is to maintain peace and prevent terror attack.

Ms Wells while briefing the meet also included CAA stating that US stressed the principle of equal protection under the law. The CAA, which promises citizenship to only non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2015, has been called discriminatory by the opposition.

She said, “The visit also offered an opportunity to hear more regarding developments with India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which is undergoing I would say a vigorous democratic scrutiny, whether it’s in the streets, by the political opposition, media, and the courts. We continue to underscore the importance of the principle of equal protection under the law”.

The government says the CAA is necessary to help those who have faced religious persecution in the three countries and will not endanger the citizenship of any Indian.

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