NEW YORK: US Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), saying restrictions on dissent, such as preventing peaceful protests or shutting down the internet, weakens democracy.
In an online meeting, with the head of American-Pakistani Political Action Committee (APPAC) Dr Ijaz Ahmad along with prominent members of the Muslim community, the former vice president called on the Indian government to â€œtake all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmirâ€.
India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of its constitution on August 5 last year in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and international law, bifurcating the disputed territory into two Union territories â€“ Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Ahmad assured Biden of the Muslim communityâ€™s full support as he faces President Donald Trump in the November elections and lauded him for his commitment to bring America back to its values.
Biden assured that he would give an enhanced role to the Muslim community in his administration and address their concern and needs. â€œNever before we have so many Muslims in a position of influence in a presidential campaign,â€ he pointed out.
â€œA hadith from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) instructs, â€˜Whomever among you sees a wrong, let him change it with his handâ€™,â€ Biden quoted. â€œâ€˜If he is not able, then with his tongue. If he is not able, then with his heart.â€™â€
Meanwhile, â€œMuslims for Bidenâ€ announced that they have raised $ 1.3 million in a virtual fundraiser with the former vice president.
On its part, the APPAC has already donated $320,000 that includes a personal contribution of $120,000 by Dr Ijaz Ahmad, who heads the group.