External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday cancelled his meeting with US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal over her recent report on Kashmir. Jayapal had recently introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives urging India to lift the restrictions in the Valley and ensure religious freedom. EAM Jaishankar said that Jayapal did not have a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I don’t think it (report) is a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or fair characterization of what the Government of India is doing. I have no interest in meeting her,” the minister said. Jaishankar was on a state visit for the Second 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington DC, USA. He was to meet a group of US lawmakers including Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
However, the minister made it clear that he would not meet Jayapal. According to reports, it was also conveyed to the group of politicians that Jaishankar would not meet lawmakers if it included the Congresswoman. However, the lawmakers refused to drop Jayapal from the group. Following this, the External Affairs minister decided to call off the meet.
Jayapal reacted sharply to the development and said: “The cancellation of this meeting was deeply disturbing. It only furthers the idea that the Indian government isn’t willing to listen to any dissent at all.”
Latching on to this, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor sought to corner the government and said: “This is totally unworthy of a great democracy like India. I can’t believe Dr S Jaishankar with all his diplomatic experience would refuse to engage with a critic; whether you agree with him or not, he is able to debate anybody! This intolerance of dissent is a BJP political failing.”
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Source: Financial Express