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Cancel Approval of Kashmir as a separate pavilion by EHFA

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The Edmonton Heritage Festival is one of the premier cultural showcases in Western Canada and is one of the largest of its kind in the country. It is a matter of pride for every Edmontonian that we have an event that showcases the cultural diversity and richness of not only Edmonton but the Province and Canada as a whole.

Normally, each pavilion represents a nation where visitors get to enjoy the diverse cultures of the world and their colorful expressions in the form of food, dance, music, language, customs and costumes.  For countries as diverse as India where there are hundreds of subcultures, languages, dialects, food, customs and costumes, it is not practically possible to accommodate all of them individually. This is something Edmontonians have happily accepted and embraced. Hence the concept of one pavilion, one nation.

We have learnt that this year, Edmonton Heritage Festival is planning a separate Kashmiri Pavilion which may make its debut. This will not augur well with the Indian pavilion who has a large presence in the festival. Jammu and Kashmir is an Indian state and is an integral part of India. India is a Federal union of 29 states and 7 Union territories and no Indian state or Union territory has separate representation at the festival and all are united under one Indian pavilion. Allowing Kashmiri pavilion is against the spirit and unity of India. Will the festival start considering separate applications from individual provinces, states and territories from all countries should the applications start coming in?

The region of Jammu and Kashmir has been a victim of foreign state sponsored terrorism for well over three decades and thousands of innocent men, women and children have lost their lives. Separate representation of Kashmir outside of the Indian umbrella is fraught with wrong political overtones and will create a lot of disharmony and misunderstandings under the current circumstances.

We Canadians should under no circumstances allow such representations which is subject to incorrect interpretation under internationally acceptable and acknowledged states and nations territorial descriptions. Such an exercise also carries immense risk of sowing the seeds of discord amongst the representative diaspora and it may lead to violating the spirit of the festival.

We strongly object the separate pavilion for Kashmir. The Indian pavilion is and should be the sole representative for the country of India. We kindly request that the Kashmiri pavilion be immediately canceled.



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