US diplomat: Kashmir human rights a concern for Washington

Associated Press

New Delhi — A U.S. diplomat overseeing South Asia says the Trump administration is concerned about human rights in India-administered Kashmir but supports India’s development “objectives” for the restive Himalayan region stripped of its special status in August.

In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, Alice Wells, acting Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asian Affairs, testifies during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on administration policy in Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells released the statement Tuesday ahead of a congressional hearing in Washington on human rights in South Asia.

Wells said the U.S. State Department has encouraged India to restore phone and internet access and release detainees. After India’s Parliament voted to remove a constitutional provision that gave Kashmiris semi-autonomy and land rights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a security lockdown and communications blackout. Thousands of people have been detained.

Some phone connectivity has been restored, but internet services remain down.