Tanveer’s arrest: American senators facing heat over visa campaign

SRINAGAR: Two American senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, who are accused of pulling the strings in getting the two Kashmiri snowshoe racers to Saranac Lake village, are now facing the heat. One of the two racers,Tanveer Hussain, is in custody for alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

Hussain’s case is being taken up by the St Armand Town Court on Monday afternoon. New York Post quoted his lawyer Brian Barrett saying that his client is “in good spirits” and is looking forward to contest the charges slapped on him. He has also said that the minor girl had followed him for a week.

Earlier, it was reported that Hussain’s senior colleague was taken as his interpreter by the court but the latest reports suggest two Indian families living in the area would now help the court as interpreters. Accused Hussain does not understand English well and has communication issues.

Saranac Lake Police Chief Charles Potthast has reiterated that Hussain, 24, was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, for “engaging in a passionate kiss” with a 12-year-old girl. Besides, he was also accused of touching her over her clothing in an “intimate area.”

While the court would take its own time in trial, after the preliminary hearing on Monday, the two senators are facing the music. They had acted after the local village launched a campaign against their government’s decision of not permitting the two to participate in the championship that the Lake hosted.

“As we often do when local communities ask for help, at the request of Saranac Lake we helped to navigate the visa process so these athletes could compete at a local competition. The charges against one member of the group, who is accused of a serious crime and abusing our visa program, are extremely troubling. If he’s found guilty, he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” a representative of Chuck Schumer was quoted by the Post saying.

Gillibrand’s office has also offered a similar response to the newspaper, insisting the charges were “extremely serious.” Interestingly, Republican Elise Stefanik, whose district extends to the Vermont and Canadian borders, has also helped the two.

Interestingly, the issue is expected to become more newsy as senator Schumer is fighting certain issues with President Donald Trump.

Hussain’s arrest is in sharp media focus. Already Washington Post has reported a copy from Punjab.

Though some Kashmiris in New York are trying to connect with the accused and offer him some kind of legal aid, the state government has not done anything on this front, so far.

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