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'Kashmir Saw ISIS-Level Horror Much Before West Was Introduced to it': Indian Writer Tells US Congress

As Sunanda Vashisht, a Kashmiri pundit, sought more attention the issue of terrorism in the Valley, she said, 'India is not just a 70-year-old identity, but a 5,000-year-old civilisation. There is no India without Kashmir, and no Kashmir without India.'

News18.com

Updated:November 15, 2019, 10:50 AM IST
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'Kashmir Saw ISIS-Level Horror Much Before West Was Introduced to it': Indian Writer Tells US Congress
Sunanda Vashisht at the US Congressional hearing on Human Rights in Washington on Thursday.

Kashmir witnessed horror and brutality similar to the kind inflicted by the Islamic State in Syria, a long time before the West and other international communities were introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror, political commentator and writer Sunanda Vashisht told a US Congressional hearing on Human Rights in Washington on Thursday.

"We have seen ISIS level of horror and brutality in Kashmir, 30 years before the West was even introduced to the brutalities of radical Islamic terror. I am glad these hearings are happening here today because when my family and everyone like me lost our homes our livelihood and our way of life the world remained silent," Vashisht told the Congressional hearing organised by Tom Lantos HR Commission.

Vashisht said that international cooperation in India's fight against terror would also help solve the human rights problem in the state. “India's democratic credentials remain unmatched and it has successfully, in a democratic setup, defeated insurgencies in Punjab and northeast. It is time to strengthen India against this insurgency and the human rights problem will be solved forever.”

As Vashisht, a Kashmiri pundit, sought more attention the issue of terrorism in the Valley, she said, "India is not just a 70-year-old identity, but a 5,000-year-old civilisation. There is no India without Kashmir, and no Kashmir without India."

Questioning what she called the “silence of world leaders” when over 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus were driven out of the Valley in the 1990s, she said, “Where were the advocates of human rights when my rights were taken away? Where were they on the night of January 19, 1990 when there were voices blaring from all mosques in Kashmir that they wanted Kashmir with Hindu women but without Hindu men? Where was the saviour of humanity when my feeble old grandfather stood with kitchen knives and an old rusted axe ready to kill my mother and I in order to save us from the much worse fate that awaited us?"

"My people were given three choices by the terrorists: flee, convert or die on the same fateful night. They survived. Those who didn't were killed. Today, 30 years later, I am still not welcome in my home in Kashmir. I am not allowed to follow my faith there. My house in Kashmir is illegally occupied as most others in my communities. And those which were not occupied have been burnt down or ransacked," she told the hearing.

Some US lawmakers have expressed concern about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir amid security restrictions. For over 100 days, there have been restrictions on internet and mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir, and several mainstream politicians remain in detention.

The lawmakers have called for the release of detained politicians and activists and an end to restrictions on communication and movement of people.

Terming the criticism as "regrettable", India had said the comments reflected a very limited understanding of the country's history and its pluralistic society.

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