Whether it is the diplomatic efforts of Pakistan in raising the Kashmir issue, or that the world is finally managing to find its moral compass, it seems that the plight of Kashmiris is finally being heard in United States particularly among Democrats.
The biggest support has come from ‘The Squad’, a group of four progressive and liberal Democrat congresswomen elected in 2018 midterm elections. The group, which includes all women of colour, represents the younger generation who want to challenge even their party’s policies.
The Squad’s Ilham Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women elected to US Congress. Both women have called for de-escalation and an immediate restoration of communication in Indian-held Kashmir. Tlaib even called on lifting crew restrictions to shed light on what is going on in the disputed region, and calling for a peaceful resolution that restores autonomy. Trail-blazing Democrat congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest women elected to Congress, also expressed similar support.
The most forceful condemnation of Indian’s blockade came from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Last month, he denounced the lockdown in Kashmir and stated that the decision by India to revoke the special status as acceptable. A potential presidency would change the way this conflict is handled. Sanders has a real shot in winning and a Democrat presidency in 2020 should have Narendra Modi worried about the outcome of the next election.
Although Donald Trump has repeatedly offered to act a mediator in the Kashmir dispute, it seems he is largely disinterested in the suffering of those who don’t vote for him or praise him. This is the primary reason Modi has been able to get away with the intensified lockdown in Kashmir. How a Democrat candidacy will affect the Kashmir conflict remains to be seen.
Another major presidential candidate Kamala Harris has also voiced support stating that Kashmiris need to be reminded that they are not alone in the world. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has also called upon India to respect the rights of the people of Kashmir.
These progressive individuals realise that Kashmir is a human rights issue, not a political one. The lives of eight million people are at risk and all people of conscience should understand it. They are certainly not playing tune to Pakistan’s narrative nor are they influenced by it. Independent-minded lawmakers, activists, and even citizens have condemned the situation and denial of human rights in India-held Kashmir. The issues must continue to be raised at the world’s highest forums.