Kashmir has witnessed a similar level of horror and brutality as inflicted by the Islamic State in Syria, prior to the time when the West and other international communities were apprised about the worst human rights situation in the Valley, claimed Kashmir columnist Sunanda Vashisht.
“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 a Congressional hearing on Human Rights organised by Tom Lantos HR Commission in Washington on Thursday (local time).
“Where were the advocates of human rights when my rights were taken away?” Vashisht asked the panelists who were present at the hearing.
“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?” she questioned further.
She then said, “My people were given three choices by the terrorists: flee, convert or die on the same fateful night.”
Around 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus fled right after the night of horror.
“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.
Meanwhile, Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative from Texas, in response to Vashisht asked for a pathway to ensure human rights in the region.
“We should try to find a pathway to at least do the basics to ensure human rights in the region. Why not allow the members of the US Congress to visit both parts of Jammu and Kashmir — in India as well as Pakistan,” Lee said.