Bernie Sanders slams India's 'unacceptable' Kashmir crackdown, condemns 'domestic terror' against US Muslims

Bernie Sanders slams India's 'unacceptable' Kashmir crackdown, condemns 'domestic terror' against US Muslims
US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has slammed India's brutal crackdown on dissent in Kashmir and urged Washington to take action.
2 min read
02 September, 2019
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders described India's crackdown as 'unacceptable' [Getty]
US lawmaker Bernie Sanders has slammed India's move to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy and the crackdown on dissent that followed.

The Vermont senator made the remarks on Saturday at the annual Islamic Society of North America conference in Houston, Texas.

"I am deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked down on dissent, and instituted a communications blackout," Sanders said before the convention's audience of around 7,000.

“The crackdown in the name of security is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care. Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indian government imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the life saving care that patients need."

On 5 August, India's government revoked the autonomy of the Muslim-majority territory where tens of thousands of people have been killed in an uprising against Indian rule since 1989, most of them civilians. The controversial move by Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government triggered unrest in the disputed region and escalated tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.

India has cracked down on dissent in Kashmir 
New Delhi sent reinforcements to the estimated half a million troops already stationed in Kashmir, cut phone lines and the internet, placed severe restrictions on movement and arrested thousands, according to multiple sources.

The turning of the former Himalayan kingdom of 7 million people into a fortress of barricades and barbed wire has not prevented protests and clashes with security forces taking place.
"India’s action is unacceptable, the communications blockade must be lifted immediately, and the United States govt must speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of a UN backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people,” Sanders said at the Saturday conference.

Sanders, who is once again running to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, has become widely known for a brand of progressive politics which has appealed to some of America's ethnic and religious minorities.

Speaking at the convention, the Vermont senator also addressed the issue of Islamophobia in the US, expressing his solidarity with the country's Muslims.

"I am here today because I believe in the concept of solidarity, and the need for all of us, no matter where we come from or what our background is, to stand together in the struggle for justice and human rights," Sanders said.

"We must speak out at hate crimes and violence targeted at the Muslim community and call it what it is: Domestic Terrorism."

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