California Democratic Party endorses right of return for Hindu Kashmiri Pandit refugees

Amar Shergill

indica News Bureau –

The California Democratic Party amended its platform earlier this week to add support for the right of return for Hindu Kashmiri Pandit refugee who fled their ancestral homeland in the 1990s.

“When Democrats discuss the ongoing human rights crisis in Kashmir, we often fail to understand the history of Kashmir, which includes hundreds of thousands of Hindu Kashmiri Pandits that were forced out of their homes and remain as a refugee community residing in India, the author of the platform amendment, Amar Singh Shergill, the chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, said in a caucus news media release. “Speaking out for Muslims that live in Kashmir today means we must also advocate for the Pandit community that have spent a generation away from their homeland.”

According to the caucus’ release, the amendment reads: “Pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 13 and 14, the Kashmiri Pandit community has the right of return to their ancestral homeland and to be free of persecution in their return.”

The California Democratic Party Platform is a statement of principles and values which is reviewed and considered by every endorsed Democratic Party candidate for office, according to the caucus. It is often used as the basis for policy discussion and legislative reform.

“I am proud to stand with my South Asian brothers and sisters working together to ensure that we protect the human rights of all people,” said Arab-American Caucus chair Moody Zahriya said. “The Kashmiri Pandit refugee community in India should be allowed to return home without fear of persecution.”

The Kashmir region has been an on-going source of tension between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947 and the ensuing partitions, according to a Daily Kos report. The conflict has most recently included India cutting off Internet service to the region.

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