Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar has cancelled a meeting with US lawmakers because he objected to the participation of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-American Representative highly critical of India. Jaishankar, who is in the US for 2+2 dialogue, said Jayapal's report on Kashmir was an unfair characterisation of the situation on the ground in the region.
"Don't think it [report] is a fair understanding of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or fair characterisation of what the Government of India is doing. I have no interest in meeting her," the External Affairs Minister told news agency ANI after reports emerged that Jaishankar had abruptly cancelled a meeting with senior members of Congress.
Dissent in PM Modi's India
Meanwhile, Jayapal took to Twitter 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." Along with the comment, she retweeted a post by a Washington Post reporter who had reported on the meeting's cancellation.
Jaishankar was scheduled to meet House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel, Michael McCaul, the Republican Party leader on the panel, Jayapal, who is not a member of the committee, and others to discuss the Kashmir situation.
The Post said that Indian officials told the committee that Jaishankar would not meet them if Jayapal was included in the group.
When Engel refused to exclude her from the group, Jaishankar cancelled the meeting, the newspaper reported quoting Jayapal.
Jayapal has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives asking India to end the communications blockade and the "mass detetions" in the Kashmir.
She criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the RSS at a hearing on Kashmir held by the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in October.
She said that religious minorities in India were in danger and felt threatened.
Jayapal, who is originally from Chennai, was elected to the House in 2016 and is on the left in the Democratic Party's political spectrum.
(With agency inputs)