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NRI Kashmiri Pandits submits MoU to Antony

Last Updated: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 12:34

Washington: Kashmiri Pandits based in the
US, UK and Canada have submitted a memorandum to visiting Defence Minister A K Antony, saying that India is making "a big mistake" by not creating political, economical and physical security space for the community in the Valley.

"The Central Government is making a big mistake by not
creating political, economical and physical security space for
Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley today," Vijay K Sazawal,
international coordinator at Indo-American Kashmir Forum said
in the memorandum, which was also submitted on behalf of
various other overseas Kashmiri Pandit groups from Canada and

"Indeed, the manner in which the All Party Delegation
(APD) ignored the rights of Pandits in the Valley was
manifested by their refusal to meet with Kashmiri Pandits
still living in the Valley. Repeated demands by the Valley-
based community were ignored," he said.

Sazawal said all meetings took place in Jammu,
"reinforcing non-Valley identity" of Kashmiri Pandits.

"On the other hand, the APD did meet with the Sikh
community in Srinagar," he said in his letter yesterday.

"... Home Minister (P Chidambaram) announced an 8-point
plan to address the unrest in the Valley that was approved by
the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security). While I hope that the
Central Government succeeds in its goals, the fact is that by
ignoring Kashmiri Pandits who are also constituents of the
Valley, the plan falls short in its comprehensive goals, and
therefore may not succeed," the memorandum said.

Kashmiri Pandits are key to restoring "plurality and
religious temperance" in the Valley, Sazawal said.
"Yet, no special effort is being made by the Government
to assert that fact. In fact, the State Government has
consistently made Pandit identity synonymous with Jammu-based
constituents," he alleged.

The memorandum thanked the Defence Minister for
taking the "courageous stand" at the CCS where it was decided
not to dilute any provisions of the Armed Forces Special
Powers Act without further assessment and discussions.
"India will pay a heavy price, if it continues to ignore
the strategic asset that Kashmiri Pandits provide in
strengthening India`s national identity and national security
in Jammu and Kashmir," the memorandum said.


First Published: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 12:34
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