Better security is needed to prevent terror attacks against Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs, says Indo-American Kashmir Forum
On Tuesday, a well-known pharmacist in Srinagar, Makhan Lal Bindroo, was shot at point-blank range. He had served the community for years and enjoyed close relationships with Kashmiris of all faiths. The Resistance Front (TRF) claimed responsibility.
In the same evening, a Hindu street food vendor, Virendra Paswan, was shot from the back in cold blood, in a terrorist attack claimed by ISIS.
On Thursday, teachers at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School were rounded up and separated based on their identification cards. Muslim teachers were released, but the Sikh principal, Supinder Kour, and Hindu teacher, Deepak Chand, were killed at point-blank range. TRF again claimed responsibility.
TRF is a known front for Kashmir based terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e Tayyiba or Hizbul Mujahideen. Both terror groups are officially designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the European Union and the U.S. State Department. Lashkar also received official designation under the United Nations.
“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 Dr. Vijay Sazawal, IAKF International Coordinator.
“Kashmiri Pandits are the aboriginal people of the Kashmir Valley,” said Lalit Koul, IAKF Social Media Director. “If their security and right to live in their homeland cannot be guaranteed, then the government has failed us,” he added.
“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.
The board members of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum appeal to the U.S. Government to consider opening a special desk in the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, in order to permit the registration of Kashmir valley’s religious minorities—Pandits, Sikhs and Christians—as refugees who are fleeing persecution.
IAKF was established in 1991 to inform the world community of the oppression against Kashmiri Pandits that led to their forced exile from Kashmir, due to the impact of radical Islamic terrorism. The organization seeks the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir valley with guaranteed security and freedom to exercise their religious faith and cultural way of life, without fear or intrusion.
Indo-American Kashmir Forum
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.