NEW YORK    -   US Senator and Democratic Presidential contender Bernie Sanders has strongly criticised President Donald Trump for not demanding the lifting of India’s lockdown in Kashmir and restoration of communications as the suffering of people enters 50th day.

“President Trump has voiced no criticism of these troubling moves,” Sander, a left-leaning politician, pointed out n an opinion piece in Houston Chronicle on Sunday, the day Indian-Americans organised the rally in Houston, Texas, for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which Trump also took part.

“When President Trump meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, we will hear much about the friendship between the American and Indian peoples. However, there will be a deafening silence when it comes to a human rights crisis unfolding right before our eyes — and that is unacceptable,” the 77-year-old Democratic Presidential hopeful wrote on Sept 22.

“The Modi-Trump rally is happening at a moment when the State of Kashmir remains under lockdown,” he had said, noting that in early August, Modi’s government unilaterally revoked Kashmir’s longstanding autonomy, has cracked down on dissent, jailed political leaders and instituted a communications blackout.

“The lockdown has also blocked Kashmiris access to basic medical care. In a letter in the British Medical Journal on Aug. 16, a group of doctors from across India asked their government to ease restrictions on communication and travel, stating they were ‘a blatant denial of the right to health care and the right to life’ because they made it difficult for patients and staff to get to hospitals. A recent Human Rights Watch report notes that, ‘From chemotherapy to dialysis, patients are struggling to access.

Sanders wrote, “I believe the US President must speak clearly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution between India and Pakistan that respects the will of the Kashmiri people.

 

 Unfortunately, Trump has chosen to abandon the United States global leadership role. He is remaining silent on the Kashmir crisis while planning to hold a public rally with India’s Prime Minister.

“Trump’s silence in the face of India’s Kashmir crackdown is consistent with his broader failure to speak up for human rights across the world. It is no secret that I disagree with President Trump on virtually every major policy issue today.”

On September 1, addressing the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Houston, Sanders said 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.