Chris Van Hollen, a US Senator, has been denied permission to visit Kashmir. Reports said the US Senator, who visited the national capital earlier this week as a part of a congressional delegation to discuss the India – US bilateral relations, trade ties and defence purchases. was not allowed by the Centre to visit Kashmir citing safety issues.
After scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to the Jammu and Kashmir, Chris Van Hollen was the first US Congressman to have been detained by the authorities from visiting Kashmir. Hollen had approached the government a week ago but was not allowed by the Centre to visit the valley.
Speaking to The Hindu, Hollen had hoped to share his concerns with the PM Narendra Modi but had not been able to meet PM. However, Van Hollen met EAM S Jaishankar in Washington last week along with another Senator Bob Menendez. Both the Senators have made statements in the last two months.
Hollen had said he thought this is the right time to witness the prevailing situation in Kashmir. He had accused Indian leadership of creating fear in the valley and stopping people to visit Kashmir to witness the atrocities. Meanwhile, there is no response from the government regarding the issue.
Reports said the delegation had also submitted a report pertaining to the prevailing humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. The delegation had called the GOI to fully restore telecommunications and Internet services and lift restrictions in the valley. It had also said the leaders should also be released within an earliest.
On August 5, Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union territories- Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh. Since then, strict restrictions have been put in place and hundreds of people have been detained. The three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been detained also. Separatist-turned-politician and Peoples Conference supremo Sajad Gani Lone and other leaders have also been detained.