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US urges 'calm and restraint' in Jammu and Kashmir row

US urges 'calm and restraint' in Jammu and Kashmir row
US 'very concerned" by reported detentions 'and the continued restrictions' in region, spokeswoman tells Anadolu Agency

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. on Thursday urged all parties to demonstrate "calm and restraint" including words being employed amid tensions surrounding Jammu and Kashmir.

A State Department spokeswoman told Anadolu Agency in an emailed statement that Washington is "closely" monitoring the situation.

"We note the broader implications of the developments in Jammu and Kashmir and the potential for increased instability in the region," said the spokeswoman, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

She said Washington remains "very concerned" by reported of detentions "and the continued restrictions" being imposed on residents in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We urge respect for human rights, compliance with legal procedures, and an inclusive dialogue with those affected," she said before welcoming "Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi’s statement that Jammu and Kashmir will soon return to a normal political status."

"We call on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control and to prevent cross-border terrorism. We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern," she added.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Indian region, has faced a severe communications shutdown -- with no Internet, landline, or cell phone service -- and restrictions since Aug. 5 when the Indian government moved to revoke the region's special administrative status.

Its status is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution under Article 370.

While Modi government called the restrictions a “precautionary measure” to tackle the situation, political leaders in the region were detained as rights groups repeatedly called on New Delhi to lift the restrictions and release detainees.

Human Rights Watch, the international rights watchdog, said the disruption of services has exacerbated an information blackout, stopped families from communicating, and prevented people from accessing medical care.

However, Indian authorities have insisted that the clampdown is intended to “prevent the spread of false or incendiary information that could cause violent protests.”

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir’s capital, residents told the rights group: “In effect, the government has placed all of us in prison. We cannot move freely. We cannot speak freely. Isn’t that prison?”

 

source: News Feed
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