(Image source from: DNA India)
A top Kashmir-American body on Wednesday alleged that “propaganda-mongers and ill-informed press” are spreading misinformation and confusion about the revocation of Article 370 and 35A.
“There has been a tremendous amount of confusion, misinformation, and fear being disseminated by propaganda-mongers and the ill-informed press about the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A by the government of India,” Kashmiri Overseas Association (KAO) said.
Kashmiri Overseas Association is a socio-cultural organization of Kashmiri Pandits residing in the United States.
“While it is human nature to condemn any injustice, like loss of internet and phone lines to the people living in the Kashmir valley, it is also prudent to understand the implication of these articles that shaped the destiny of us minorities of the region over the last 70 years”, KAO said in a statement.
“Article 370 and 35A allowed a breeding ground for armed violence in Kashmir,” it added.
‘Convert, Leave, or Die’
(Image Source: DNA India)
Due to the growing influence of Wahhabism, a radical stream of Islam, the campaign of intimidation and harassment in the valley worsened in the late 80s which was already in rife in the valley for decades.
“Pakistan was able to capitalize on this by financing, arming and training militant groups across the border,” the KOA said, adding that this all came to a head on the night of January 19, 1990.
“Through the loudspeakers of mosques, militants screamed words of hate for minorities. ‘Convert, leave, or die’ and ‘leave your women behind and send the men off’ were popular slogans. In the weeks following, leaflets were posted on the doors of Kashmiri Hindus asking for their immediate departure from the valley or face the consequences,” the KOA said.
Revocation Provides Equal Opportunities
(Image Source: New India Express)
The targeted killing of Kashmiri Sikhs and Hindus were also widespread to send an apparent message to the minority communities that they were not welcome in the Kashmir valley, KOA said in a statement to the mainstream American press.
“It uprooted peace-loving, helpless minorities. Over 500,000 Hindus and Sikhs were ethnically cleansed out of their homes with a purpose to create a minority-free Kashmir valley.
“Yet, because of Article 370, the government remained silent spectator,” the KOA claimed.
“We were left to bear the horrors of terrorism on our own, including being forced to witness the murders and rapes of our own family members. Our community members were brutally killed, with many homes, businesses, and temples destroyed. We became refugees in our own country, some forced to live in squalid tent camps,” it said.
The KOA believes that revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir will provide equal opportunities to everyone and will make a path for the development of regions which have too-long neglected like Ladakh.
“Removal of these articles will help curtail terrorism in the valley and empower women as more progressive laws will apply to them equally with the rest of the country.
“Proactive measures of added security, restrictions, and internet regulation placed by the Government of India are crucial to curb terrorism and prevent the loss of civilian lives and curtail the foreseen unrest and retaliation by militant groups,” it said.
The Indian government on August 5 revoked Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
By Sowmya Sangam