Pandits Ask Govt Not To Withdraw AFPSA From Kashmir2 October 2010
Washington DC: Scores of Indian-Americans, mostly Kashmiri Pandits, held a demonstration in front of the Indian embassy here, asking the government not to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFPSA) from the Kashmir Valley. Organised by the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) and Indo-American Kashmir Forum, a political advocacy group, the demonstrators urged the Indian government not to succumb to any pressure from any quarters for diluting or withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFPSA). In a memorandum submitted to Indian Ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, the protesters, including children, urged the union government to constitute a high-power committee under direct authority of the Prime Minister to address the issues of displaced Kashmiri Hindus. Calling on the Indian government to declare Kashmiri Pandit community as Internally Displaced People (IDP), the protesters, who had come to Washington from various parts of the U.S. including New York, Boston and Houston, demanded that investigating agencies and courts be directed to expedite prosecution cases against those terrorists who have been charged with Kashmiri Pandits’ killings. The memorandum urged the government to grant funds to Kashmiri Hindus for the preservation and documentation of relics of Kashmiri Hindu heritage and culture and hand over the management of Kashmiri Hindu religious shrines, icons and cultural centres to the community leadership after restoring them to 1989 or pre-exodus conditions. Adapa Prasad, OFBJP-USA President, claimed that the continuation of the government’s “appeasement” policies towards Kashmiri separatists is encouraging them to push their agenda of ‘Talibanisation’ of Kashmir.