Celebrations over the scrapping of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir continued in the U.S. last week with a rally by Kashmiri Hindus/Pandits in Atlanta and a gathering in New York addressed by BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
At the rally in Centennial Park near the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta Aug. 18, several of Kashmiri Hindus/Pandits, Sikhs, along with leaders of Federation of Indian American Associations of Georgia gathered to tell their stories of their hapless exodus from the state in 1990 and how they have longed for decades to go back to their homes they left.
“The rally in front of CNN was symbolic of reminding the Western media to play a responsible role by giving peace a chance in J&K without yellow journalism about the internal matter of India,” said Subash Razdan, a community senior of Kashmiri ancestry in Atlanta.
The rally highlighted the fact that these temporary articles related to the former State of J&K needed to be scrapped as these were highly discriminatory against almost all Kashmiri minorities, including Shia Muslims, Dalits, Gujjars, Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Sikhs.
At the August 20 celebrations at Antuns in Long Island where there was standing room only audience from the community, Vijayvargiya said that it is a historic day thanks to the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who made the abrogation of Article 370 possible. He urged NRIs to invest in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his Keynote Address Jagdish Sewhani, President The American India Public Affairs Committee, thanked the audience for coming in large number for the celebration, which, he said, was a sign of the energy and enthusiasm among the Indian- American community about the recent initiative by the Indian government on Kashmir. “As Indian Americans, we have a responsibility to help Prime Minister Modi achieve his goals of a New India,” Sewhani said.
Others who addressed the meeting in New York included Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty and Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, a philanthropist and medical doctor who is from the Kashmiri Pandit community.