Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President, Joe Biden, wants India to take necessary steps to restore rights of Kashmiris under siege since August 5, 2019 when India annexed the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
Joe Biden has also expressed disappointment over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
"These measures are inconsistent with the country's long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy", according to the policy paper - Joe Biden's agenda for seven-million strong Muslim American community, posted recently on his campaign website.
Joe also understands the pain Muslim-Americans feel towards what's happening in Muslim-majority countries and countries with significant Muslim populations, the policy paper said adding: "The forced detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims in western China is unconscionable. As President, Joe will speak out against the internment camps in Xinjiang and hold the people and companies complicit in this appalling oppression accountable. Additionally, systematic discrimination and atrocities against Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority is abhorrent and undermines peace and stability."
On the Kashmir issue, Joe Biden said the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir. "Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weaken democracy."
India abrogated the special status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year and bifurcated it into two Union territories -- Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. India has claimed that the abrogation of Article 370 is its "internal matter".
Tellingly, China has also protested India's unilateral moves in the disputed Jammu & Kashmir and declaring Ladakh a separate Indian territory.
The policy paper also said: "Joe Biden has been disappointed by the measures that the government of India has taken with the implementation and aftermath of the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act into law. These measures are inconsistent with the country's long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy."
According to Press Trust of India (PTI) a group of Hindu Americans has reached out to the Biden campaign expressing resentment to the language used against India and urged it to reconsider the views. The group has also sought a similar policy paper on Hindu Americans.
Reacting to the policy paper, Ajay Jain Bhutoria, who is also on the National Finance Committee for Biden told the PTI there are groups within various elected officials groups in the US pushing language and agenda's highlighting misinformation and damaging facts on how India handled its own internal matter on Kashmir, Ladakh or immigration reforms related to NRC.
Rishi Bhutada, board member of the Hindu American Political Action Committee, was quoted by the PTI as saying that Biden campaign is missing the much needed context about what he called Pakistan-sponsored cross border terrorism in regards to Kashmir.
It is also missing how the CAA is a good-faith effort to remedy the status of approximately 30,000 persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who sought refuge in India, have no other path to citizenship, and no chance of returning to their home countries safely, Bhutada said.
OIC states asked to raise Kashmir issue with India
Joe Biden's statement on the rights of Kashmiris came days after the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir called upon the OIC member states to raise the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in their bilateral engagements with India with a view to safeguarding the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people, and ensuring expeditious implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The Emergency Virtual Meeting of the Contact Group was held on June 22 to take up the worsening situation in Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting was chaired by the OIC Secretary General, Dr Yousaf Al-Othaimeen, attended by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The communique' issued after the meeting, deplored the extended, months long, lockdown of the Kashmiri people and communications blackout since August 5, 2019, and suppression of Kashmiris through arbitrary detentions, fake "encounters," so-called "cordon-and-search" operations designed to inflict collective punishment on entire neighborhoods, and indiscriminate use of force, including use of pellet guns, against unarmed Kashmiri protestors.
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