Entering the debate on the abrogation of Article 370 by India, US Senator and Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders told a gathering of Muslims that he was "deeply concerned" about the situation in Kashmir and asked the US government to "speak out boldly" in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution to resolve the issue. This comes days after US president Donald Trump. Addressing the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Houston on Saturday, the 77-year-old leader also sought an immediate end to communications blockade in Kashmir. Organisers said they invited all presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans, but only Julin Castro and Sanders came. "I am deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir," Sanders said while addressing one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the country. " He said the US government "must speak out boldly and must support UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people," Sanders added.
"India’s action [in Kashmir] is unacceptable and the communications blockade must be lifted immediately, and the US government must be speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian live and in support of a UN backed peaceful resolution" @BernieSanders #isnacon pic.twitter.com/PrvgYzfqPs— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) August 31, 2019
While India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status was an internal matter, Pakistan has urged the international community to intervene. Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik last week said internet and phone services have been shut because these are more useful to terrorists and Pakistan for mobilisation of people and indoctrination of youths. Sanders remark came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan - a position that was immediately backed by US President Donald Trump who had recently offered to mediate. In an apparent backtracking from his earlier comments, Trump, while speaking to the media alongside Modi on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in France, said he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve the Kashmir issue on their own.
"We spoke about Kashmir last night. The Prime Minister has said that he has it under control. He has said that he will speak with Pakistan Prime Minister. Something good will come out of it," said Trump. Adding to President Trump's statement, PM Modi clarified his stance saying, "India and Pakistan have many bilateral relations. When I called Pakistan PM Imran Khan after the elections, I had told him that both India and Pakistan have to fight against poverty. Pakistan and India have to fight illiteracy and diseases. I had told both Imran Khan and Trump that both nations need to unitedly tackle these issues."
Even as Donald Trump said that Kashmir is bilateral issue, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday addressed his nation on Kashmir. Speaking at his briefing, Khan claimed that it was due to Pakistan that international community is speaking about Kashmir. Imran Khan said: "Our victory is that we have internationalised this issue. UN meeting made it internationalised. They have got cautious. We told International media and International media has also picked it up."
On August 5, India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Parliament also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu Kashmir, and Ladakh. Reacting to India's decision, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner soon after deciding to downgrade the diplomatic ties with New Delhi. India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution is its internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality. As a preventive measure, Centre also placed leaders in Kashmir - Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti into detention, and ordered communication backout and curfew was imposed. However after a week, several communication facilities were resumed. 23 days after the abrogation, Centre claims that situtaion is normal, however some restrictions in the valley are still in place.