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August 04, 2020

Congressman David Trone Statement on Jammu and Kashmir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov 

Congressman David Trone Statement on Jammu and Kashmir 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Congressman David Trone (MD-06), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding Jammu and Kashmir:

“On August 5, 2019, the Government of India announced it would change Jammu and Kashmir’s special status within the constitution and consider it as a union territory of India. At that time, the Indian military moved 45,000 additional troops into the region, suspended internet and telephone service, and arrested thousands without a full disclosure of charges. India’s stated objective was to bring economic development and peace to the state. Now, one year later, my constituents continue to raise concerns for their families who are in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons report that 143 militants and 32 civilians have been killed so far in 2020. Doctors Without Borders have found that 45 percent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir have experienced mental distress and many more have witnessed violence firsthand.

“In January, the Indian government started lifting some communications restrictions, permitting 2G internet access in approved sites. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the region has experienced another lockdown with more restrictions on movement. The healthcare system is overworked in Jammu and Kashmir like it is in so many other regions. There is limited personal protective equipment and a shortage of medical personnel. The lack of reliable internet service has prevented Kashmiris from accessing quick information on coronavirus resources and has hampered any efforts to provide telehealth services. I’ve heard reports that doctors there feel unable to voice their concerns for fear that Indian authorities will claim they are opposing the Government of India, thus putting their jobs at risk. Clearly, the pandemic layered on top of civil unrest in the region further threatens the lives and livelihoods of the residents in Jammu and Kashmir.

“India is a key democratic partner of the United States. It is the Indian government’s responsibility to ensure that the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir are afforded the same rights and privileges as all citizens of India, with equal and just treatment under the law. This respect for human dignity must be paramount.”

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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