Posted on November 15, 2019, 12:56 PM IST
India and Pakistan have always remained at loggerheads about the Kashmir issue. Even as the states of Jammu & Kashmir have turned into a Union Territories in October this year, the world at large seems to only focus on Muslim population in the Valley. There were even a European delegation visiting the valley last month to check the proceedings of the Modi government after the abrogation of Article 370.
Drawing the international attention for the first time towards the mass genocide of Kashmiri Pandits by Muslims, Indian writer and political commentator, Sunanda Vashisht spoke at length about the brutality of their extinction at the US Congressional hearing on Human Rights in Washigton on Thursday.
She mentioned that the Kashmiri Pandits witnessed horror and brutality similar to the kind inflicted by the Islamic State in Syria, a long time before the West and other international communities were introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror.
She continued, "We have seen ISIS level of horror and brutality in Kashmir, 30 years before the West was even introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror. I am glad these hearings are happening here today because when my family and everyone like me lost our homes our livelihood and our way of life the world remained silent," Vashisht told the Congressional hearing prearranged by Tom Lantos HR Commission.
Vashisht went on saying that international cooperation in India's fight against terror would also help solve the human rights problem in the state. “India's democratic credentials remain unmatched and it has successfully, in a democratic setup, defeated insurgencies in Punjab and northeast. It is time to strengthen India against this insurgency and the human rights problem will be solved forever.”
As Vashisht, herself being a Kashmiri pundit, sought more attention the issue of terrorism in the Valley, she said, "India is not just a 70-year-old identity, but a 5,000-year-old civilisation. There is no India without Kashmir, and no Kashmir without India."
Questioning what she called the “silence of world leaders” when over 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus were driven out of the Valley in the 1990s, she said, “Where were the advocates of human rights when my rights were taken away? Where were they on the night of January 19, 1990 when there were voices blaring from all mosques in Kashmir that they wanted Kashmir with Hindu women but without Hindu men? Where was the saviour of humanity when my feeble old grandfather stood with kitchen knives and an old rusted axe ready to kill my mother and I in order to save us from the much worse fate that awaited us?"
"My people were given three choices by the terrorists: flee, convert or die on the same fateful night. They survived. Those who didn't were killed. Today, 30 years later, I am still not welcome in my home in Kashmir. I am not allowed to follow my faith there. My house in Kashmir is illegally occupied as most others in my communities. And those which were not occupied have been burnt down or ransacked," she vented out at the high-profile hearing.
Some US lawmakers have uttered apprehension about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir amid security restrictions. For over 100 days, boundaries have been made over the usage of internet and mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir, and several conventional politicians remain under observed detention.
The lawmakers have called for the liberation of detained politicians and activists and have sort for an end to restrictions on communication and movement of people.
Terming the criticism as "regrettable", India had said the explanation reflected are a partial perceptive of the country's history and its society.