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Kashmiri Pandit diaspora endorses axing Article 370, meets Modi

Kashmiri Pandit diaspora endorses axing Article 370, meets Modi
Highlights

In what can be seen extracting more international endorsement for the Indian government's decision to scrap Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) expressed its support for the move.

Houston: In what can be seen extracting more international endorsement for the Indian government's decision to scrap Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) expressed its support for the move.

The organisation said it will "unequivocally support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India to

raise awareness that the cessation of Article 370 will enhance human rights greatly in Kashmir". It expressed confidence that the move will build a "new future for the people and the land".

Ahead of the much anticipated "Howdy Modi" event of the Indian Prime Minister in Houston on Sunday, Modi met a 17-member delegation of the Kashmiri Pandit community there.

The GKPD led a group of US-based civil society members and organizational heads from the community. They also presented Modi a memorandum.

Modi, during the meeting is said to have acknowledged the pain that the Kashmiri Pandits had gone through, as a community.

In the early 90s, the community was forced out of the Kashmir Valley as militancy peaked. The GKPD quoted the Prime Minister as saying: "You, the Kashmiri Pandits and we all will build new Kashmir together."

Calling the decision to abrogate Article 370 as "bold", Surinder Kaul, the international coordinator of the body sounded hopeful. "We are now optimistic that our long-standing demand for restorative justice and a safe and sustainable homeland in the valley will be met. A grateful community which has suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing. Thank you."

Amid claps and cheer, the meeting ended with the Pandits singing the Sharada Devi invocation, said a statement issued by the GKPD.

Modi joined in at the end with the words, "Om Namo Namah", it added.

India's Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringala later joined the group of Kashmiri Pandits. They had a discussion on ways to counter Pakistani propaganda.

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