U.S. concerned about detention of political leaders in Kashmir

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South Asian Affairs head Wells is set to visit New Delhi on January 15 for a three-day trip that includes talks with senior Indian officials on bilateral and regional issues.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, who will be travelling to South Asia this week, on Saturday expressed hope that the region would return to normalcy. It also said that it considers the trip of foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir an important step but still remains concerned and that it is closely following the envoys' trip. "We look forward to a return to normalcy", she wrote on the microblogging site.

On the visit, organised at the request of foreign envoys in New Delhi, Kumar said: "Our consistent position has been that any visit to the Union Territory of J&K by foreign dignitaries will be based on assessment by local administration on the prevailing security situation".

Al Jazeera reported that diplomats from the European Union countries backed out of the trip as they wanted to reach out to their contacts on ground and visit areas that weren't in the Indian government-prepared itinerary which was organised by the Indian ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and Defence.

Diplomats from EU, Australia and Gulf were also expected to be part of the delegation but eventually dropped out. Internet and telephone services have been discontinued in the region and the government has raised security and terrorism concerns.

President Narendra Modi deprived Jammu and Kashmir of his longstanding autonomy and placed them under government control in August.

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The US lawmakers underscored that even during a war, no country had imposed a complete information and communication blackout as that imposed by the Indian government.

Upper House Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also filed a similar petition questioning the restrictions.

Following the revocation, a military curfew and communications blockade had been enforced in the valley and hundreds of thousands of Indian troops deployed to crush dissent.

This was the second foreign delegation visiting the valley after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

New Delhi argued it was a "preventive" measure to avoid unrest despite the United Nations' 2016 declaration that internet is a human right.

Mehta had argued in the court that "modern terrorism relies heavily on the internet" and considered social media as its most effective weapon.

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