Top Indian official canceled congressional meeting over inclusion of Jayapal: report

Top Indian official canceled congressional meeting over inclusion of Jayapal: report
© Greg Nash

India's external affairs minister called off a meeting with senior congressional members after the group of lawmakers refused to exclude Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down MORE (D-Wash.), who has been critical of India's policies in Kashmir.

During his trip to Washington this week, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was expected to meet with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelVoice of America not extending foreign journalists' visas: report New York candidates left on hold as primary results trickle in New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE (D-N.Y.), committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTrump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House National security adviser says Trump was not briefed on bounty intelligence, condemns leaks Pentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations MORE (R-Texas) and other lawmakers, including Jayapal, The Washington Post reports.

Jayapal, a native of India, is currently sponsoring a resolution that urges India to lift restrictions on communications, restore the internet and preserve religious freedom for all residents in the contested region of Kashmir.

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When Engel refused to remove Jayapal from the delegation, Jaishankar reportedly pulled out of the meeting.

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

Tensions in the already contentious region have been high since the summer when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled back a special status that granted the region autonomy. 

According to internet advocacy group Access Now, Kashmir has been without internet for 134 days as of Monday, the longest ban of its kind enforced by a democratic state.