The Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF), which for more than three decades has been lobbying on Capitol Hill and imploring U.S. lawmakers and successive U.S. administrations to alleviate the human rights violations against Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley, have hailed the Indian government's decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution that affords special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
IAKF said that "this change is an extremely welcome development for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the status quo in the state, under the Article 370 dispensation, had failed utterly in bringing peace, security, development and human rights to its people, especially religious minorities in the Kashmir valley.
"Second, the state had fallen into a rut of dynastic rule led by a few prominent Muslim families that had looted the State of its wealth which led the Transparency International (TI) to label the State as the most corrupt in India."
IAKF noted, "In fact, a classified cable — leaked by Wikileaks — from Ambassador David Mulford to the U.S. State Department in February 2006 called Kashmir a "money game" and stated that, "Kashmir Politics is as filthy as Dal Lake."
But it said, "The biggest reason why our organization, and our sister organizations, the Indo-European Kashmir Forum (IEKF) based in London and Geneva, and the Indo-Canadian Kashmir Forum (ICKF) based in Ottawa, support the decision by the Government of India is because finally Kashmiri minorities, particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, will receive justice and be able to reclaim their ancestral lands from where they were driven out in 1989-1990."
According to the IAKF, "The ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir valley is a disgraceful chapter in the history of free India, and it happened because all successive democratically elected Kashmiri Muslim politicians in Jammu and Kashmir took an umbrage under the Article 370 to resist any Central Government efforts to address the plight and suffering of Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities in the state and reverse their ethnic cleansing. Pandits have been living as refugees in their own country for the last 30 years."
It also predicted that the move by New Delhi would "improve the security situation with respect to cross border terrorism and bring peace, harmony and stability in Jammu-Kashmir, now a new union territory of India."
Dr. Vijay Sazawal, founder and chairman emeritus of IAKF, told India Abroad that "the timing of the move was dictated by two independent events — one being (Pakistani Prime Minister) Imran Khan's visit to the U.S., which Pakistan astutely exploited because knowing that Trump believes in transactional negotiations.
"Second, the Indian Government had to act because the Election Commission was about to announce Assembly election dates in Jammu and Kashmir and changes at that time would have been disallowed," he argued.