Exhibition In US On Plight Of Kashmiri Pandits
12 July 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Washington DC: Prominent lawmakers from both the House and the Senate in United States have urged the world to recognise the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who have been displaced from their homes in the Valley and forced to live in refugee camps. A two-day exhibition depicting the suffering of Kashmiri people in the strife-torn State, particularly the minorities, opened at the Capitol Hill yesterday. Congressman Frank Pallone, chairman of the Kashmir Task Force, a subcommittee within the Congressional caucus on India and Indian Americans, deplored the violence in the State. 'Even though Kashmir is rightfully a State within India, its citizens, the Kashmiri Pandits who had been living in the Kashmir Valley for 5,000 years, suffered a long history of attacks throughout the 1990s leading to the mass migration of Pandits from the Valley, most of whom were either murdered or forced to live in refugee camps. I sympathize greatly with the abuses and genocide the Pandit community has endured through the years,' he said. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from south Carolina said India and the United States are fighting a common enemy in the global war on terrorism. 'The ideology of the terrorists who attacked American on September 11 is the same as those killing innocent civilians in Kashmir. Together, as allies, our two nations must continue fighting this scourge which afflicts all free nations.' A member of the New Jersey Assembly, Upendra Chivukula, called for an end to the hatred and injustice in the world. 'The ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Hindus perpetrated for more than two decades has gone unreported in the free world. It was not until the 9-11 terror attacks that the United States has been awakened about the evils of terrorism. The US, as a peace loving country and promoters of democracy throughout the world cannot afford to ignore the realities of terrorism in other parts of the world, particularly Kashmir.' The organizers, the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) said recent peace initiatives have ignored the wishes and participation of the Kashimiri Hindus. This exhibition has been held to show the world their misery and sufferings. The exhibition will be shown in different parts of the US. The tour is supported by Indo-American Kashmir Forum, Kashmir Overseas Association, Indian American Friendship Council, Indian American Forum for Political Education and American Indian Association among others.