Protesting Kashmiri-Americans ask India to reverse its move to strip occupied J-K’s special status
In a memorandum to the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Kashmiri-Americans of diverse backgrounds Thursday called for reversing the changes brought in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, 2019, the day New Delhi locked down the disputed territory.
“The Indian decision of abrogating article 370 and 35 A that guarantees the special status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been rejected not only by the Kashmiri diaspora leadership of all political parties but also by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the memorandum addressed to Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu said.
It was handed over to the India Embassy where Kashmiris and their supporters staged a protest demonstration to mark the second anniversary of the Indian siege of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Kashmiri diaspora leadership stands committed to carry on the struggle till the final settlement of the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum was signed by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of World Kashmir Awareness Forum; Javaid Rathore, president of the Kashmir Solidarity Council; Dr. Oussama Jamal, secretary-general of US Council of Muslim Organizations; Dr. Zahid Bukhari, executive director of ICNA/Council on Social Justice;
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, professor at George Washington University Medical Center, Virginia; Dr. Roof Meer, Herdon, Virginia; Sardar Zarif Khan, Springfield, Virginia, and Sardar Shoaib Irshad, Manassas, Virginia.
It also called for the release all political prisoners unconditionally; Allowing unhindered access to Kashmir by the United Nations Thematic Rapporteurs to monitor situation in Kashmir; permitting international human rights organizations and NGOs to visit Kashmir;
Granting visas to international journalists to visit Kashmir, and Creating conditions conducive for resolving Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and according to the United Nations Security Council resolutions which were agreed by both India and Pakistan.
“What Indian authorities and their loyalists are attempting to silence is nothing short of a human rights disaster,” the memorandum said, adding that extrajudicial killings, torture, disappearances, displacement and sexual violence that Kashmiris endure must be brought to light and accounted for.
“The Indian state’s new repressive measures may bring temporary silence among Kashmir’s besieged population and their supporters, but it will never buy their allegiance to India,” the memorandum said.
“Prolonging the settlement of the Kashmir dispute will bring peace neither to India nor to South Asia, and will prolong the unnecessary suffering of thousands of innocent civilians.
“New Delhi should accede to international law in Kashmir, cooperate in holding a referendum administered by a neutral agency, and welcome third party intervention or mediation to solve any prickly details.
India itself will benefit by the vast savings in military and paramilitary force in Kashmir, and by the more favorable investment environment that would follow on the heels of peace in Kashmir.
“India should also recognize that it has failed to capture the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people, and should disengage from Kashmir. Otherwise, Kashmir will remain a dangerous canker in India’s body politic with incalculable consequences.
A nation displays its greatness by confessing errors and shortcomings and taking remedial action, not by stockpiling nuclear warheads and missile delivery systems.”
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