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 JayapalSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Critical supplies shortage hampers hospitals, health providers 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 EngelHillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Lawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Democrats press Pompeo to help Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.), committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets China sees chance to expand global influence amid pandemic Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike 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.