U.S. Congressman Pallone asks Indian Prime Minister to Safeguard Minority Kashmiri Pandits Lands Print
Thursday, 17 January 2008 00:00

January 18, 2008
Washington, D.C.
Source: Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF)

For Immediate Release:

U.S. Congressman Pallone asks Indian Prime Minister to Safeguard Minority Kashmiri Pandits Lands

After being briefed by the Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF), U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) today drafted a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India asking his government to help safeguard the properties of Kashmiri Pandits in the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). An insurgent uprising in 1989 resulted in the mass exodus of over 350,000 Kashmiri Hindu minorities, or Pandits, from their ancestral homes in the valley of Kashmir. The insurgency quickly degenerated into an Islamic terrorist struggle with support from several international terrorist organizations.

Congressman Pallone was contacted by many of his constituents who were concerned about the unilateral acquisition of their ancestral lands by the J&K government. Pallone in his letter indicated concern for what the Government of India is doing to adequately rehabilitate the Pandits. “Not much help has been provided to remaining Pandits in Kashmir by the State government or the civil society, and even those that remain, most are starting to leave the valley.” Pallone continued, “The situation is further exacerbated by J&K government’s efforts to appropriate lands owned by Pandits when instead Pandits should be encouraged to retain their lands and even expand their land holdings. In fact, the State government could facilitate return of Pandits, who are state subjects, by encouraging them to buy land in the valley through attractive financing.”

IAKF has been intricately involved in briefing Congressman Pallone and others on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.

[Attachment: Congressman Pallone letter to P.M. Manmohan Singh, January 17, 2008]

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