New York: Members of the Indian-American community say they feel betrayed, cheated and saddened by Indian-American Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has introduced a Congressional resolution on Kashmir, saying that the lawmaker is "pandering for political advantage through it.
Jayapal on Friday introduced a Congressional resolution urging India to end the restrictions on communications in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.
The Indian-American community, which has strongly supported the Democrats in the US over the decades, is voicing anger and hurt over Jayapal moving ahead with introducing the legislation even though Indian-Americans had urged her against it.
In a strong criticism of Jayapal, Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra told PTI that "her resolution mocks America and interferes in a bilateral relationship between India and the US.
I look upon as Pramila Jayapal as completely unprincipled, un-American, anti-Hindu and pro-terror, who is shamelessly pandering for political advantage, Batra said.
Quoting the American Declaration of Independence, Batra said the historic document sequentially talks about preservation of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. She has introduced this resolution about rights, Batra said, adding that America's Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that first comes the preservation of lives, then comes liberty and only when there is freedom, can there be rights.
The (Narendra) Modi government passed the laws based on the Constitution of India. What is her problem, he said.
Stressing that security is important, Batra added that it is critical for a nation to be terror free, then we need to have public safety. Only then can freedom and rights mean anything. I hope she will stop embarrassing all Americans of Indian ancestry.
Seattle-based Debadutta Dash, founder and co-chair of Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee, a non-profit advocacy group promoting trade and cultural relations between India and Washington state, also voiced his disagreement with the resolution brought by Jayapal and Republican Congressman Steve Watkins from Kansas.
Dash, who had voted for Jayapal when she ran for Washington State Legislature, Washington State Senate and Congress, said that Jayapal appears to have lost track and has been misled and totally influenced by the negative media reporting about Kashmir in mainstream American news organizations.
Dash said it is very opportunistic and biased" for Jayapal to bring this resolution. It is hard to understand why she is doing so, representing only a couple of people in her constituencies, undercutting the issues of the Kashmiri Pandits.
The members of the Indian-American community also feel even though they have traditionally supported the Democratic Party throughout, actions such as those of Jayapal and extreme left wing of the Party will make the community look at the Republican Party as a protector and promoter of their interests.
Dash said members of the community will definitely be very careful about who they vote for next time because they will be watching what steps the lawmakers are taking in terms of issues like Kashmir.
It is absolutely unfortunate. It appears that she is looking for some opportunistic career move in the Democratic Party. I'm baffled by this resolution, he said stressing that Kashmir is India's internal issue and the Indian government doesn't take any action in the Indian Parliament based on what is happening in the US.
Echoing similar sentiment, Massachusetts-based Pawan Roy, a board member of several US-India focussed non-profit organisations, said that "suddenly we have this Imran Khan Niazi-narrative being played out primarily by the Democrats in the US. They are brazenly peddling the Pakistan narrative and completely ignoring the plight of Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Hindus.
He said that what makes this harder for the Indian-Americans is that they have largely been a solid supporter of the Democratic party. With many of his own family members and friends having traditionally voted Democrat, Roy said there is a sense of betrayal and sadness by the fact that the US House of Representatives, particularly the Democrats, are so keen on bringing up hearing after hearing on Kashmir.
Vibhuti Jha, Executive Director and board member of NGO Nalanda International USA, said Jayapal is trying to sermonise the human rights challenge and suspension of communications in Jammu and Kashmir.
Human life takes precedence over human rights. When you misrepresent a challenge as a human rights challenge, you ignore the human life challenge that India faces in that area, especially when we have a very na-pak country as a our neighbour and whose Prime Minister at the UN General Assembly called for nuclear war and blood bath," Jha said.
He added that the Democratic party has lost its mooring. It has tilted so much to the left of centre, to the extreme left that it is almost difficult to have a discussion with them because they blame everything as human rights issue.
Jha said that Democrats such as Jayapal have no locus standii to interfere in India's internal affairs.
He said he would appeal to Jayapal that she should not insult her original homeland with a myopic point of view.