Wani urges US President, Congressmen to raise Kashmir issue with Indian premier during his visit to US

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The Chairman of Kashmir Institute of International Relations, Altaf Hussain Wani, has conveyed his serious concerns to United States President Joe Biden and other officials of the administration about Indian premier Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the US.

Altaf Hussain Wani in a joint communique addressed to the US president, Congressmen, Senators and top officials of the state department said, “Before rolling out a red carpet for the Indian premier, they should take into account the fact that Modi is the man who is censored as a “Hero of hatred and killer of Kashmiris.”

“Modi, a longtime Hindu nationalist, is the person who for nearly a decade was prohibited from setting foot on US soil because of his role in the deadly violence in Gujrat that consumed thousands of innocent lives”, he said.

“It is under his rule that hate crimes against minorities in India have skyrocketed by 300 percent. The rising tide of anti-Muslim hate, xenophobia and Islamophobia within Indian society is the result of hate propaganda perpetrated by the leaders of his party, as well as anti-Muslim laws and policies passed or proposed in many states, including occupied Kashmir”, the communique stated.

Modi and his party-the BJP, he said, were directly responsible for the fast deteriorating political and human rights situation in the UN-recognised disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the RSS influenced regime’s muscular policy on Kashmir, Wani said on 5 August 2019, the Modi government, in brazen violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions moved a contentious bill that led to the revocation of Kashmir’s special status and dissolution of the state into two union territories.”

“Before embarking on its ambitious mission, the Modi government laid a complete siege and hapless Kashmiris who were virtually caged in their houses reeled under curfew and clampdown for more than 14 months. Essential fundamental freedoms were suspended and the social, political and economic life of the Kashmiris remained critically suppressed,” the letter further said.

Thousands of Kashmiris, he said, were arrested and faced harassment and imprisonment. “Political activists, lawyers, small business owners, journalists, students and, of course, human rights activists were roughed up and put in jails”, he said, adding that no foreign journalists were allowed into Kashmir by the Indian government.

“Sadly, the reckless totalitarian decision to strip Kashmiris of their rights and rob them of their identity, was characterized by Modi and his party as the correction of a “historical blunder”, Wani said.

Reminding the American president of his country’s deep commitment to protect the human rights of all people enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights treaties, Wani said, “Human rights issue is at least one thing that does not divide us politically. It does not matter where in the world the human rights abuses are taking place or who is being abused, we must stand up for human rights and for the rule of law”.

Since US foreign policy puts the rule of law, democracy and human rights at the very heart of the global agenda, Wani expressed the hope that the present US administration and political parties from both sides of the aisle would apply same principles when it comes to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

He hoped that the US, which has time and again raised the issue of human rights violations in the Indian-held territory of Jammu and Kashmir, will not shy away from raising issues of serious concern with the Indian prime minister during his upcoming visit to the United States.

“We strongly believe that everyone everywhere should enjoy equal rights and protection under the law and any allegations of human rights violations must be investigated promptly, thoroughly and transparently”, he added.

The situation in Kashmir elicits strong feelings and we sincerely believe that the US that has a great track record of championing human rights would uphold its proud legacy and speak up vociferously in defence of the human rights of the people of Kashmir.

Highlighting the dangerous dimensions of Kashmir dispute, he said, “At 76 years, Kashmir conflict is the longest unresolved conflict on the agenda of the United Nations”. The unresolved dispute, he said, has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

“As many as 95,000 have been killed in the past 30 years alone and Kashmir continues to be the most militarised place on the Earth”, he said.

Kashmir, he said, has assumed dangerous proportions since the Hindu nationalist government has intensified its efforts to advance its communal agenda.

Genocide Watch, he said, has already raised alarm bells over slow motion genocide in Kashmir, calling upon the United Nations and its members to warn India not to commit genocide in the region.

“We would like to see the US administration and the honourable members of the congress raise these pressing issues with the Indian premier”, the KIIR chairman said.

Urging the USA to take a bold stance on the issue of Kashmir, Wani said, “Silence is no longer an option, speaking truth to power is the only way forward. Silence will only contribute to shedding the blood of the Kashmiri people”.

Referring to the US President Harry S. Truman’s address to the closing session of the United Nations Conference at San Francisco in which he said that there was a dire need to implement the UN Charter in its letter and spirit to address issues of grave concern. “Kashmir is one such issue that merits the urgent attention of the world, especially the United States of America, which has been a co-sponsor of the historic UN resolution acknowledging Kashmiris’ right to self-determination”, he added.

“We believe that the US administration and the US congress commit to continuing its efforts to be strong advocates for all people around the world, in particular the people of Kashmir who suffer from discrimination, abuse, and oppression at the hands of Indian occupation forces”, Wani said.

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