WASHINGTON: US senators on Monday have protested against Indian foreign minister and said that “It’s wrong for any foreign government to tell Congress what members are allowed in meetings on Capitol Hill.”
Congresswoman Jayapal and senator Harris, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential race early this month, both have an Indian background. Senator Harris’s mother was from Chennai while Ms Jayapal was born there in India.
Yet, Mr Jaishankar refused to meet Ms Jayapal when the Indian Embassy arranged a meeting for him with the house foreign affairs committee in Washington earlier this week to share India’s views on Kashmir with the members.
Shutting out U.S. lawmakers who are standing up for human rights is what we expect from authoritarian regimes—not the government of India. @RepJayapal is right. She must not be excluded for being outspoken about the unacceptable crackdown on Kashmiris and Muslims. https://t.co/G1lQepLQxF
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 20, 2019
Ms Jayapal, who is a member of the panel’s subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, rejects the Indian position on Kashmir and accuses New Delhi of committing gross human rights violations in the occupied valley. She also criticized India’s new citizenship law because she believes it discriminates against Muslims.
Recently, Ms Jayapal moved a resolution in Congress urging India to end restrictions on communications and mass detentions in the occupied Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.
According to US media reports, when informed that Ms Jayapal would also attend the meeting, Indian foreign minister Mr. Jaishankar asked his aides to ensure that she is kept out. He was particularly upset with Ms Jayapal for sponsoring the resolution that condemned India’s crackdown in Kashmir.
Efforts to silence @PramilaJayapal are deeply troubling. The U.S. and India have an important partnership—but our partnership can only succeed if it is rooted in honest dialogue and shared respect for religious pluralism, democracy, and human rights. https://t.co/hx5H5Rpxqg
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 20, 2019