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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 JayapalOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district 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 EngelIs Trump a better choice for Jewish voters than Biden? Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches MORE (D-N.Y.), committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Bipartisan action needed to counter Chinese influence Hillicon Valley: House panel says Intelligence Community not equipped to address Chinese threats | House approves bill to send cyber resources to state, local governments 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.