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Indian-American Attorney Says His Suggestion on Congressional Delegation to Kashmir 'Misconstrued'

The attorney was invited by the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel to testify before a subcommittee hearing on Human Rights in South Asia, which was primarily focused on Kashmir.

PTI

Updated:October 31, 2019, 8:52 PM IST
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Indian-American Attorney Says His Suggestion on Congressional Delegation to Kashmir 'Misconstrued'
File photo of U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)

Washington: The Indian-American attorney, who urged US lawmakers for a Congressional delegation to Kashmir, said on Thursday that his recommendation was being "purposefully misconstrued" by those who wish to support terror or compromise India's sovereignty.

New York-based attorney Ravi Batra on Tuesday in a supplemental testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged US lawmakers to "schedule a bipartisan Congressional Fact-Finding Mission to Kashmir".

Batra's request came a day after a delegation of the European Union (EU) parliamentarians visited the Valley for an on the ground assessment of the situation there.

Those who wish to support terror or compromise India's sovereignty are purposefully misconstruing my recommendation to Congress - to go on a Congressional Delegation (CoDel) - as if it was a FBI or a NYPD police squad going overseas to intrusively solve a crime and gather facts and evidence, Batra said in a statement.

That misconstruction is as wrong as it is motivated, and not the function of any CoDel. Anyone familiar with our Congress knows that, Batra said.

The attorney was invited by the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel to testify before a subcommittee hearing on Human Rights in South Asia, which was primarily focused on Kashmir.

I had agreed to testify in the House Foreign Affairs' Sub-Committee Hearing last week - because as a New Yorker, I know that eradicating terror is a non-negotiable duty for all responsible nations, and India's Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is entitled to act legally and eradicate terror without anyone else's permission - just as we do in the United States, Batra said.

And once the reign of terror is ended, public safety established, a Congressional Delegation to India is in order to get first-hand understanding of India's challenges in eradicating cross-border terror and domestic terror, and what's needed to lift as many restrictions on communication, movement and rights as on-the-ground near-the-border reality permits, he said.

Following the abrogation of Article 370, various restrictions, including ban on mobile phones and Internet, were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain law and order. The restrictions are being gradually lifted in a phased manner.

Once the sub-continent is terror-free, full Rights can be enjoyed with total safety by all equally. All persons of goodwill want India to succeed, so little or no restrictions are needed, Batra said.

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