WASHINGTON(TIP): India’s ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday, October 16, briefed lawmakers on the situation in Kashmir and the steps taken to maintain peace after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was abrogated.
The briefing, first such by the top Indian diplomat for members of the House foreign affairs committee, comes as there has been an increasing voice of dissent and uneasiness among lawmakers on the curbs in Kashmir, several of which have been removed.
Since August 16, there was gradual removal of curbs and by September first week, most were removed, officials in Jammu and Kashmir had said. The most prominent being restoration of post-paid mobile phone services on October 14 for 40 lakh subscribers across networks.
Several Congressmen who were not members of the committee also attended the ambassadorial briefing and a majority of the lawmakers were from the opposition Democratic Party. Congressman Ami Bera was the only Indian American lawmaker present at the briefing.
Shringla and other diplomats from the Indian Embassy here and its consulates in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco have reached out to hundreds of Congressmen and their aides after abrogation of the state’s special status.
Since August 5, the government besides restoring post-paid mobile phone services has opened the state for tourists. On August 17, partial fixed line telephony was resumed and on September 4, nearly 50,000 landlines were declared operational. Educational institutes are also open, but attendance has been slim.
The government has claimed that over 99 per cent of the area of the state has no restrictions on movement.
(Source : PTI)