US Attorney Ravi Batra underscoring the significance of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 said that terror needs to be eradicated, so rights and freedoms mean something. The US Attorney's remark came as a response to the Congressional subcommittee on human rights in South Asia.
"When you have people afraid to come out of their house because they don't want to be blown up because cross-border terrorism exists as a daily event and homegrown terrorist being nurtured. The first thing somebody wants before they want human rights, they want to live," the attorney from New York told the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"I owe India an apology, as when she suffered the Mumbai Terror attack on November 26, 2008, when Jews and Americans were singled out for death by Pakistan-based terrorists, I joined in arguing for 'restraint'. I was wrong. Terror needs to be eradicated, so our rights and freedoms mean something," Batra said.
The US Attorney further compared the former US President Abraham Lincoln to PM Modi, stating that the Indian Prime Minister took similar extraordinary steps like legal amendments to have the legal authority and then installing a massive force to prevent fatalities in Kashmir from motivated fire-fights by cross-border or home-grown terrorists.
Batra who was personally invited by Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to testify on this important issue, referred to PM Modi's argument in abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"He (PM Modi) said he did this to bring the promise of equal rights and freedoms to all Indians. His actions on August 5, 2019 were judicious, as they were careful. No war broke out. Terrorists were immobilized, as communications and internet were cut off," the US Attorney highlighted.
"India, it seems, learned from her Mumbai terror attack. Indeed, landing at JFK airport, when standing in line for immigration inspection, there is no phone service or internet connection. Safety matters," the US Attorney added.
Batra also drew a parallel between Jammu and Kashmir and the US states of Louisiana and Alaska. "A simple point worth making: Kashmir was attached to India by a legal decree duly signed by its then-Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, several months after the needlessly bloody Partition when tens of millions were killed," he said.
A day after reviving postpaid mobile phone services, the Home Ministry has decided to snap text messaging services in the Kashmir valley taking cognisance of the security situation. Republic Media Network sources have notified that the decision was taken by the Home Ministry after a meeting in the north block telecommunications.
Mobile phones in Kashmir buzzed back to life last week, connecting 40 lakh postpaid subscribers to their families and friends in the country, the Valley and their neighborhoods after 72 days but without any internet facilities. Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik lifted the Home Department’s advisory on October 12 and urged the tourists to visit the valley. The valley will be welcoming tourists after 69 days. In a full-page advertisement published in local dailies this week, the state administration asked people not to be afraid of terrorist threats and resume their normal activities.
Ahead of the date when Union territories Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh come into existence, the J&K government on October 11 sent out invitations to all administrative secretaries to the 'appointed day' i.e October 31, 2019. The two Union territories will be formed according to the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Re-organisation Act, 2019. It also directed all the secretaries to not move out of the state during the transit period October-November 2019. It has asked all the secretaries to be present for the ceremony in Srinagar.
(With PTI inputs)