US Senator to Modi: Ensure return of Pandits to Kashmir

New Delhi: An American senator has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitching for repatriation of the “violently displaced” Kashmiri Pandit community and asked him to work with them to ensure their voices are heard.

Senator Sherrod Brown has said that “timely resettlement” of the Kashmiri Pandits to their “homeland must be pursued expeditiously as an attempt to right the injustices of the past 30 years”.

He has written the letter to Modi in the context of the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir, whose special status was abolished last month.

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“As a follow-up to my earlier letter regarding the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), I wish to reaffirm my support for the repatriation of the Kashmiri Pandit community,” Brown wrote.

The entire community of Kashmiri Pandits, which formed a miniscule minority in Kashmir valley, were forced to leave the Valley in 1990 after being targeted by militants. They took refuge in Jammu, Delhi and some other places.

“I have long advocated for the Kashmir’s Pandit community, which was violently displaced in the early 1990s. Moreover, I had previously supported the positive messages that your government made towards resolving the injustices that the Pandit community has suffered,” the Senator told Modi in the letter.

“I urge you to work with the Kashmiri Pandit diaspora to ensure that their voices are heard moving forward. All religious and ethnic minorities have a right to participate in the political process, which will decide the future of J&K,” Brown said.

He urged the Modi government to “ensure that all minority voices have a seat at the table to ensure Kashmir’s future reflects those who have called that region home for generations.”

Noting that peace and stability remains the cornerstones of a strong democracy, Brown wrote, “I encourage you to work with all stakeholders in J&K to ensure a peaceful resolution. Furthermore, the timely resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland must be pursued expeditiously as an attempt to right the injustices of the past 30 years.”

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