Kashmiri Pandits in US condemn focused civilian killings; ask India to re-evaluate Kashmir coverage

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At least seven individuals had been killed by militants in Kashmir Valley within the final 5 days. Of these killed, 4 belonged to minority communities.

The Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA), a socio-cultural organisation of the Kashmiri Pandits within the US, has expressed shock and anguish over the grotesque killings of pharmacy proprietor Makhan Lal Bindroo, avenue meals vendor Virender Paswan and two academics — Deepak Chand Mehra and Supinder Kaur.

Kaur, a Srinagar-based Sikh, and Mehra, a Hindu from Jammu, had been killed two days after The Resistance Force, a shadow outfit of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claimed accountability for the deaths of three individuals on Tuesday.

Bindroo, a distinguished Kashmiri Pandit and proprietor of Srinagar’s most well-known pharmacy, was shot dead at his store that night. Minutes later, ‘chaat’ vendor Paswan from Bihar was gunned elsewhere within the metropolis. Almost concurrently, one other civilian, Mohammad Shafi Lone, was killed at Naidkhai in Bandipora.

Three days earlier than that, militants shot dead Majid Ahmad Gojri at Srinagar’s Karan Nagar locality. Later that Saturday evening, they gunned down Mohammad Shafi Dar at Batmaloo.

According to the KOA, feelings of rage and helplessness ran excessive when the Kashmiri Pandits residing in varied components of the US heard of the “gruesome, targeted killings of innocents in Kashmir by the terrorists”.

“These incidents brought back the painful memories of 1990, when members from the community were killed, women were raped, children rendered orphans, resulting in the exodus of over 400,000 people to save lives and honour,” mentioned KOA president Dr Archana Kokroo.

“The recent targeted killings have terrorised the minority community in the Valley and many are fleeing their homes again,” Kokroo mentioned.

“Our peace-loving and progressive community has survived the brutality of the forced exodus of 1990 due to our perseverance and hard work. We continue to live by our values of non-violence. Killing another one of us is not a victory for the terrorists,” Kokroo mentioned.

“This is the saddest event that every humanitarian must mourn. India is an independent nation and all Indians have constitutional rights and freedoms. A few interlocutors should not be able to threaten human rights with violence,” mentioned Lavanya Vemsani, a Professor of Indian History and Religions in Shawnee State University, Ohio.

“The government must increase security in the Valley, especially for the non-Muslim minority,” Vemsani mentioned.

Dr Ashok Moza, president and founding father of Chemicals Inc, mentioned the federal government of India “needs to consider creating clusters of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits and other non-Muslims in different parts of the Valley and offer them protection just like Israel has provided to its citizens on the West Bank.”

“The recent killing is a clear reminder that non-Muslims in general and Kashmiri Pandits in particular are unsafe in the Valley,” Moza mentioned.

Commenting on the latest killings, long-time social and cultural activist in Boston Sanjay Kaul, who can also be the vp of the World Hindu Council, mentioned that the federal government “must re-evaluate its Kashmir policy and provide proper security to the community and work on building their confidence if they are encouraging them to live in the Valley.”

The Kashmiri Pandit neighborhood is as soon as once more on the sting as their woes proceed even after 32 years in exile, he mentioned.

Reacting over the incident, Pran Chaku, distinguished technologist and a very long time Houston resident, mentioned, “This incident has horrified and shocked Kashmiri Pandits globally. I hope the government acts sternly. If the security of the minority community and their right to live in their place of birth cannot be guaranteed, then the government has failed us.”

Padma Shri awardee Subhash Kak, Regents Professor Emeritus on the prestigious Oklahoma State University, mentioned: “It has been heartbreaking to learn in regards to the brutal killings by terrorists in Srinagar. We should stand resolute and combat this evil for good”.

Rajesh Kachroo, a PK-ReHinGe activist in Virginia, advocated institution of a homeland for Kashmiri Hindus in east and north of the river Jhelum and adoption of the 1991 Marg darshan Resolution of Panun Kashmir.

“We have reiterated that the only safe option for Kashmiri Hindus, who are refugees in their own country, is establishment of homeland, east and north of the river Jhelum and adoption of the 1991 Marg darshan Resolution of Panun Kashmir,” Kachroo mentioned.

“KOA sends its deepest condolences to the families of the dead and pray that there are no more killings. We all stand in solidarity with the families of these bravehearts,” KOA Secretary Anil Ganju mentioned.

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