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Karachi born U.S. Senator Van Hollen refused permission to visit Kashmir


A Washington Post article on Oct. 4, 2019 reports that U.S. senator Chris Van Hollen was refused permission to visit Kashmir.

Van Hollen is among the 50 members of Congress who have expressed concern at the situation in Kashmir.

Hollen was born in Karachi and having gone to school in Kodaikanal while his father served as an American diplomat in Sri Lanka, Van Hollen has been clued into the Indian politics.

The crackdown now in 60 days since August 5 strips Muslim-majority Kashmir of its autonomy and statehood.

A Democrat who represents Maryland, Van Hollen asked to see the ground reality for himself. His constituency, Maryland, has one of the largest Muslim American populations of any US state, with a significant Pakistani and Indian-American Muslim population.

“I have a deep affection for India and support stronger Indo-US relations. And, it’s important for the Indian government to address the provisions in the US Senate’s Appropriations committee-adopted Bill which includes language on Kashmir,” said Hollen.

 “If the Indian government has nothing to hide, they should not worry about people visiting Kashmir and witnessing the situation with their own eyes,” Van Hollen said in an interview Friday (Oct. 4, 2019) in New Delhi.

As the world’s two largest democracies, India and the United States “talk a lot about our shared values,” he said. “I think this is a moment where transparency is important.”

No foreign journalists have received permission from the Indian government to report in Kashmir since Aug. 5.

“There’s a lot going on in Washington, but I believe concern is rising about the situation in Kashmir,” said Van Hollen. His conversations during his two-day visit to India “have only heightened” such concerns.