In an exceptional move, a United States Congressman has apologised to Indian-Americans for not asking them before writing a letter to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express his concern over human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre has decided to scrap Article 370, which granted “special status” to the state.
In a letter to Mr. Pompeo, Congressman Tom Suozzi has said that the action by the Indian Government in Kashmir “risks provoking mass social unrest…”
Suozzi’s letter continues, “These new restrictions on the autonomy of the state and the rights of Kashmiris could also embolden extremists and terrorists to act.”
Distressed by the written letter, several Indian-American, who comprises an important part of Mr. Suozzi’s Congressional District in New York has also played a significant role in the election and raising funds, replied him with numerous angry messages.
Over 100 Indian community members have asked him to withdraw the letter, adding that “On Sunday, I met with 100 of my Indian-American constituents regarding my recent letter to Secretary Pompeo expressing my concerns about recent developments in Kashmir.”
“Based upon my meeting it is clear that it was a mistake to not consult with some of my Indian-American friends and supporters before I sent the letter. I should have. I am sorry. If I had met with them before sending the letter, I would have framed my concerns differently,” said Tom Suozzi in a statement.
He continued that throughout his career in serving the society, he has been a passionate supporter of India, their sovereignty and have always stood beside them while fighting against terrorism.
The relationship between India and the United States will be one of the most valuable around the next 50-years and beyond, said Suozzi, adding that he has spent his time in promoting this relationship and will continue to do so.
“India, the world’s largest democracy, remains critical for regional security and peace. The current situation in Kashmir presents some very serious challenges. The US should seek to be helpful in securing safety and peace for all people,” said the Congressman.
“Moving forward, I will make sure to solicit the input of all of my constituents who have a vested interest in Kashmir and work towards a peaceful region that roots out terrorism and corruption as well as respects human rights. It is my hope that recent developments in the region will eventually lead to this,” added Tom Suozzi.
Indian Americans have said Mr. Suozzi’s statement was an initiative in the right direction and sought a follow up letter from him to Mr. Pompeo.
The American India Public Affairs Committee President Jagdish Sewhani was quoted saying, “It is a statement in the right direction. If any letter is required, Congressman Suozzi needs to write to Secretary Pompeo about the nefarious actions of Pakistan and asking for decisive and irreversible action against terrorist organisations.”