US presidential candidates come out to back Pramila

Washington, December 22 (KMS): Leading Democratic presidential aspirants, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and two other US lawmakers have come out in support of Indian-American Congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal after Indian External Affairs Minister refused to a Congressional committee, which invited Jayapal to be a part of the group.

S Jaishankar cancelled his meeting with the Congressional committee in protest against Jayapal being a member of the group.

Jayapal is one, who introduced a Congressional resolution on Kashmir urging India to lift all the restrictions in occupied Kashmir imposed after the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status on August 5.

Senators Sanders, Warren and other lawmakers tweeted on Friday to express their support for Jayapal, saying Jaishankar and India are trying to silence the voice of a US lawmaker.

“Shutting out US lawmakers who are standing up for human rights is what we expect from authoritarian regimes – not the government of India. Jayapal is right. She must not be excluded for being outspoken about the unacceptable crackdown on Kashmiris and Muslims,” said Sanders, who was the first Democratic presidential candidate to oppose India’s abrogation of Kashmir’s special status.

“The US 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,” Warren said in a tweet. She said the efforts to silence Jayapal are deeply troubling.”

“It’s wrong for any foreign government to tell Congress what members are allowed in meetings on Capitol Hill,” Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential race early this month said in a tweet. The first US Senator of Indian-origin, Harris said she stood with Jayapal.

“No foreign government should dictate who is or isn’t allowed into meetings on
Capitol Hill,” Congressman Jim McGovern said in a tweet. “I stand with Jayapal and applaud Congressman, Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and others for doing the same”, he said.

Earlier, The Washington Post reported that Jaishankar abruptly cancelled a meeting with senior members of Congress this week after US lawmakers refused demands to exclude Jayapal from the meeting.

“This only furthers the idea that the Indian government isn’t willing to listen to any dissent at all. The seriousness of this moment should’ve been a reason for a conversation, not dictating who’s in the meeting, which seems very petty,” Jayapal was quoted as saying by the leading American daily.


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