We understand India's position, said top US official
On Tuesday, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells said she understands why India went ahead with the historic decision, but the current situation is worrisome.
To note, the Centre, led by BJP, said J&K's special status was revoked to ensure the citizens get benefits of the Constitution. The government also said this decision will curtail terrorism.
Things have improved but normalcy hasn't returned: Wells
In a statement submitted to Congressional subcommittee, Wells said, "While we support these objectives (of India), the US State Department remains concerned about the situation in the Kashmir Valley, where daily life for the nearly eight million residents has been severely impacted since August 5."
She noted that though things have improved a little, normalcy has yet not returned.
She also noted journalists couldn't do their jobs properly
Further, Wells said journalists, both foreign and local, covered Kashmir but restrictions made their job difficult.
"While exact figures are difficult to ascertain, we understand several thousand people have been detained over the past two months, although many have subsequently been released," she went on.
She added Indian authorities have been urged to respect human rights and restore internet and mobile services.
US wants India to hold elections in J&K soon
Welcoming the Centre's decision of releasing a couple of politicians, Wells said the US is hoping that India holds assembly elections in the state at the earliest.
It should be noted that three former Chief Ministers of J&K, namely Omar and Farooq Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, are still under detention.
They have been booked under the strict Public Safety Act.
Wells said US supports direct talks between India and Pakistan
Pertinently, Wells also mentioned India's equation with Pakistan and said the US supports a direct dialog between the hostile neighbors, which falls in line with the 1972 Shimla Agreement.
However, she added that the support which Islamabad provides to extremist groups have turned out to be a "chief obstacle".
She reminded that in 2006-07 India and Pakistan made "significant progress" on various issues.
Pakistan needs to act against terrorists, underlined Wells
"We believe the foundation of any successful dialog between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists in its territory," Wells added.