Kashmiris expect Biden to pressure India on human rights

Kashmiris expect Biden to pressure India on human rights

Campaign plank cheers region but reality offers little hope for actual change

SRINAGAR, India — Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election a month ago has instilled hope in politicians and citizens in India-administered Kashmir who expect President Donald Trump’s replacement to raise the issue of human rights abuses in the region.

The campaign’s website has a lengthy page, “Joe Biden’s Agenda for Muslim-American Communities,” that lists atrocities committed against Muslims around the world, including Kashmiris, Rohingyas and Uyghurs. “In Kashmir,” the page says, “the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir. Restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the Internet, weaken democracy.”

This passage has stoked optimism that is noticeable on the streets of Kashmir. Locals regularly discuss Biden’s victory and the impact they expect it to have on Kashmiri politics.

Ghulam Mohammad, 80, and a resident of Budgam, a western district of Kashmir, said, “We as a society have witnessed grim situations, especially after the abrogation of Article 370,” referring to a part of India’s constitution that had given the then-State of Jammu and Kashmir a semi-autonomous status before New Delhi abolished it last year. “The victory of Biden and Harris in the 2020 U.S. election has brought in a ray of hope in these dark times.