(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/23/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, yesterday submitted a written statement to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation’s hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region.”
CAIR’s statement focuses on Kashmir and the Indian government’s revocation of that region’s protected status and accompanying human rights abuses. The hearing was convened by Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA).
READ CAIR’S STATEMENT.
SEE: Hearing on Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region
In its statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw thanked Chairman Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ted Yoho (R-FL) for providing congressional oversight to the U.S. Department of State’s response to the human rights situation in South Asia – which has recently been exacerbated by the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s illegal revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, stripping the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its protected status and laying siege to its eight million residents.
CAIR’s statement outlined Indian Prime Minister Modi’s brutal military campaign of collective punishment in the Kashmir Valley, citing:
- The revocation of the region’s protected status;
- A near-constant curfew leading to an urgent humanitarian crisis of severe shortage of food and lifesaving medications;
- The forced unwarranted detention of some 4,000 elected Kashmiri political leaders, business leaders, civil society members, and rights activists in secret jails by Indian forces, including mass arrest and beatings of children and widespread torture of detainees;
- Gross human rights abuses of Kashmiri residents by Indian security forces in the Kashmir Valley;
- A halt on the publication of all local news and prevention of international journalists from entering the Kashmir Valley; and,
- A continued communications and internet blackout of Kashmir
CAIR asked the subcommittee to consider that the Indian state of Assam has stripped at least 1.9 million Bengali-speaking Muslims of their citizenship – constructing prison camps to detain these now stateless people -- and expelled all international journalists from the state.
Moreover, Prime Minister Modi’s plan to open similar detention centers across India is causing widespread fear and panic in the Indian Muslim community.
The statement also finds that while this mass detention scheme is in its early stages, it shares many of the oppressive characteristics of the People's Republic of China’s mass detention of more than a million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps for practicing their Islamic faith
CAIR also sought to draw the committee’s attention to Modi’s political party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), having been credibly accused of emboldening “communal violence” and failing to forcefully condemn or put a stop to recent mobs of violent Hindu nationalists lynching, murdering, and brutally beating minorities, especially Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and members of lower castes within India’s society.
CAIR’s statement for the record recommended to the congressional subcommittee that:
- Congress and the State Department pressure the Indian government to lift the curfew; end the communications and internet blackout; release all detained children, protestors, and elected Kashmiri political leaders; reduce Indian security forces in the region; and, immediately reinstate the protected status for Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Commerce Department designate and blacklist from U.S. trade any Indian logistics and technology companies that have actively supplied or furthered India’s military takeover of Kashmir or construction companies aiding the Indian government’s building of concentration camps for Muslims stripped of Indian citizenship.
- The State Department adopt visa restrictions on any Indian government official, military leader, or political party leader that has ordered or overseen: India’s military takeover of Kashmir; stripping of Indian Muslim nationals of their rightful Indian citizenship; construction of concentration camps for Muslims stripped of Indian citizenship; and, emboldening “communal violence” against minorities.
- The State Department reinstitute its 2005 visa ban on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, 202-774-0770, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org