U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) recently introduced H. Res 1601, a bill recognizing and condemning the over twenty years of human rights violations committed against the Kashmiri Pandits, which has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Between 1989 and 1991, almost 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus, also known as Kashmiri Pandits, were systematically and brutally driven from their homes in India's State of Jammu & Kashmir through a campaign of murder, rape and intimidation. Over two decades later these Kashmiri Pandits, with many continuing to live in poverty-stricken refugee camps in India, have little to no hope of returning to Kashmir. The refugee camps are overcrowded, lack basic necessities such as drinking water and medicine and do not have adequate facilities for sanitation. Additionally, education and employment opportunities are severely lacking. As a result of these dire conditions, the Kashmiri Pandit refugee population faces serious health issues including a high incidence of disease, depression, stress-related problems and high death-rate.
H. Res 1601 resolves that the House of Representatives:
(1) condemns the extremist violence, lack of religious freedom, and human rights violations committed against Kashmiri Pandits, which they have endured for more than two decades; and
(2) insists that terrorist infrastructure in the region must be dismantled and terrorists should be held accountable for their actions.
Click here to read the full text of H. Res 1601.
The bill needs a total of 25 co-sponsors, ten of which must be from the Foreign Affairs committee, to be marked up and then sent to the full House for a vote. HAF needs you to act now and tell your Representative to support this important bill.
Over the past two decades, approximately 400,000 Kashmiri Hindu Pandits have been forcibly evicted from their homes and many continue to live in poverty-stricken refugee camps throughout India, with no hope of returning to the Kashmir valley. As the United States is a leading defender of human rights, it is vital that elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives take a strong stance in 1) condemning the extremist violence, lack of religious freedom, and human rights violations committed against Kashmiri Pandits; and 2) insisting that terrorist infrastructure in the region be dismantled, and terrorists be held accountable for their actions.
Many international human rights organizations, including the Hindu American Foundation (www.HAFsite.org) and Indo-American Kashmir Forum (www.IAKF.org), two organizations which I support, have noted the campaign of intimidation and violence directed by foreign militants and foreign terrorist organizations against Kashmiri Pandits. Moreover, many of the groups that have claimed responsibility for these attacks have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department. It is now time for Congress to recognize the serious human rights violations inflicted upon the Kashmiri Pandits for well over twenty years.
H. Res 1601 is currently pending before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and we need your support to bring it to the House Floor for a vote. As a constituent for yours and a supporter of human rights, I urge you to cosponsor H. Res 1601 and thank you in advance for your support. I respectfully request a response from you.