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Write Your Representative

Topic: Kashmiri Pandits are the Victims of Terrorism

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I am writing to you to highlight the human rights abuses against the minority indigenous population of Kashmiri Pandits in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The Pandits are the Hindu minority in Kashmir and were the original inhabitants of Kashmir over 5000 years ago. As you may know, Islamic terrorists operating in Kashmir conducted a systematic, well-documented campaign of torture and murder beginning in 1989, resulting in the death of over one-thousand Kashmiri Pandits and the forced exile of over 350,000. In 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) ruled that Kashmiri Pandits were subjected to "near genocide" conditions preceding their forced exodus from Kashmir. The Norwegian Refugee Council in their 2004 Annual Report (released in Geneva on April 7, 2005) states, "In India, attacks and threats by separatist militants continued to hamper the return of India's largest group of displaced, between 250,000 and 350,000 Kashmiri Hindu Pandits who have been leaving the Kashmir Valley for Jammu and New Delhi since 1989 due to separatist militancy." According to the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, a U.S.-based advocacy group, there are less than 3,000 Pandits currently living in the Valley of Kashmir.

 

Some of the terrorist groups operating in Kashmir have been linked to other terrorist plots in India, Europe, and the United States. The Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri terrorist outfit banned by the U.S. and the EU, and operating from Pakistan, was responsible for some of the most heinous human rights abuses against Pandits. Director of national intelligence John Negroponte testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February 2006 that Pakistani militant groups "also pose a potential threat to our interests worldwide," and noted that "extremists convicted in Virginia in 2003, of providing material support to terrorism, trained with a Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, before 9/11."

 

I am requesting you to help shape U.S. foreign policy to adopt a no-tolerance policy toward fundamentalist terrorist groups that have either killed or driven out most moderate voices in the majority Islamic, formerly Sufi, population of Kashmir, such that peace and rehabilitation of the minority communities can be achieved in Kashmir. For more information on the forced exile of the Pandits, please visit www.iakf.org,  the website of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, a non-profit organization in the U.S. and the largest advocacy group for the Pandits outside of India.

 

Sincerely,

 

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