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US resolution to stop violence against Kashmiri Pandits

Washington: A resolution has been introduced today in the United States House of Representatives, to seek justice against the human rights violation that the Kashmiri Pandits have been facing, resulting in the severe curtailment of their religious freedom for two decades.

Kashmiri Pandits perform prayers during an annual Hindu festival. Two decades after they were forced to flee Kashmir, thousands of Hindu Pandits seek to return to their ancestral homeland. Reuters

Influential Democratic Congressman, Frank Pallone, has introduced a resolution in the United States House of Representatives condemning the 'extremist violence, lack of religious freedom, and human rights violations committed against Kashmiri Pandits since 1989.'

The resolution insists that terrorist infrastructure in the region must be dismantled and terrorists should be held accountable for their actions.

The resolution, which has been sent to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has been welcomed by the Hindu American Foundation. "While too many policy makers in Washington do little to highlight the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, Congressman Pallone has taken the lead in raising awareness about this critical matter," said HAF's director Samir Kalra.

Observing that Kashmiri Pandits are the original inhabitants of Kashmir, tracing their heritage and culture back several millennia, the resolution said Kashmiri Pandits have been the victims of documented human rights violations.

As a result of the violence, Kashmiri Pandit population has declined from 400,000 in 1989 to less than 4,000 in the Kashmir valley. Many Pandits continue to live in refugee camps.

The resolution observes that international human rights organisations have noted the campaign of intimidation and violence directed by foreign militants and foreign terrorist organizations against Kashmiri Pandits.

"The introduction of H.Res. 387 is not only significant for Kashmiri Hindus and the Hindu American community, but also furthers America's commitment to promoting religious freedom around the world," continued Kalra.

PTI