Houston: A prominent socio-political organisation of Kashmiri Pandits in the US on Friday expressed shock and anguish over the brutal and targeted killings of minority Hindus and Sikhs by militants in Kashmir this week.
The Indo American Kashmiri Forum (IAKF) urged the US government to consider opening a special desk in the US Embassy in New Delhi to facilitate the registration of religious minorities Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from the Kashmir Valley as refugees who are fleeing persecution.
In a press release, the IAKF said well-known pharmacist Makhan Lal Bindroo, Hindu teacher Deepak Chand, Sikh school principal Supinder Kaur and Hindu street food vendor Virender Paswan were all killed by terrorists just for belonging to minority community.
On Tuesday, Bindroo, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit, and Paswan, who hails from Bihar, was shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar.
The IAKF underlined that Bindroo had served the community for years and enjoyed close relationships with Kashmiris of all faiths.
It noted that just two days after, militants rounded up a school in the Valley and separated the staff based on their identity cards. Muslim teachers were released, but Kaur and Chand were brutally killed in broad daylight.
Three pistol-wielding terrorists barged into Sangam Eidgah Boys’ Higher Secondary School around 10:30 am on Thursday and singled out 44-year-old Kaur and her colleague Chand after confirming who among the staff were from any community other than Kashmiri Muslims. Both were escorted out of the building and shot multiple times before the assailants walked out of the campus.
Chand died instantly, while Kaur succumbed to her injuries en route to hospital.
These cold-blooded terror attacks bring back painful memories of the 1990s, when the targeted killings and torture of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits led to the exodus of over 400,000, said IAKF International Coordinator Dr Vijay Sazawal.
Lalit Koul, IAKF Social Media Director, said, “Kashmiri Pandits are the aboriginal people of the Kashmir Valley. If their security and right to live in their homeland cannot be guaranteed, then the government has failed us.”
The IAKF noted that The Resistance Force (TRF) backed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for the killings.
Both TRF and LeT are officially designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the European Union and the US State Department. LeT is also designated as a global terror outfit by the UN, the release noted.
The brazen killings will continue if terrorists do not fear getting caught. As a cousin of Deepak Chand noted, there is a system and network of locals who are enabling these targeted killings of the minority community.’ That network needs to be dismantled and the government needs to provide protection to those that are targeted, said Rahul Pandit, IAKF Communications Director.