India denies permission to US Senator who wanted to visit Kashmir

US Senator Chris Van Hollen was denied permission to visit the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Congressman  from Democratic Party wanted to visit Kashmir to see the situation “first-hand”, but he claims that the Indian government denied him permission to go there.

Van Hollen born in Karachi, did his schooling in Kodaikanal while his father served as an American diplomat in Sri Lanka. He has been clued into the Indian politics from his childhood.

Even though the Modi government refused permission to visit Kashmir, he came to India and met officials and key members of civil society in Delhi on Thursday and Friday.

“I wanted to visit Kashmir to see first-hand what was happening, but was not allowed by the Indian government. We had approached the government about a week ago, but were told it was not the right time to go there,” Van Hollen said while speaking to the press.

“I had thought it would be useful to go there and see the situation myself. My personal view is that if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear by allowing visitors to the state.. I can only conclude that the Indian government doesn’t want us to see what’s happening out there,” he added.

He played a key role in drafting the Appropriations Bill, which was unanimously adopted last week. He said the committee “noted with concern the current humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and called on the Indian government to fully restore telecommunications and Internet services; lift its lockdown and curfew; and release individuals detained…”.

Van Hollen has served as Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2017 to 2019. As member of the US House of Representatives for Maryland’s 8th Congressional district, he has been vocal about the situation in J&K. Maryland, his constituency has one of the largest Muslim American populations of any US state, with a significant Pakistani and Indian-American Muslim population.

Source : Various

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