No greater threat to human rights and civil liberties than terrorism and radical extremism: U.S. Commission on Kashmir

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There is no greater threat to human rights and civil liberties than terrorism and radical extremism, a prominent American organisation representing Kashmiri pandits have told a U.S. Congressional Commission, asking it not to be hijacked by politically motivated witnesses.

In a statement for record for Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) expressed its disappointment that the Commission chose not to reach out to the community members who have been silent victims of human rights over the last 30 years.

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The Democratic Party-dominated Commission, a bipartisan Congressional Caucus of the US House of Representatives, held a hearing on the human rights situation in Jammu & Kashmir on Thursday.

This would have elicited far wider response from potential expert witnesses, non-government organisations working in this field and wider public and would have enriched the Commission’s hearing, said the statement submitted by the KOA President Shakun Munshi and Secretary Amrita Kaur.

In the statement of facts, which was released to the press on Friday, the KOA urged the Commission Co-Chairs — Congressmen James McGovern and Christopher Smith — to not let this platform be hijacked by politically motivated witnesses.

The Commission should recognize the unique security challenges faced by India in Jammu & Kashmir due to cross border terrorism and call a spade a spade, it said.

We urge the Commission to call upon Pakistan to end its state policy of sponsoring cross border terrorism in India,” it said, adding that this is a prerequisite to protecting and respecting human rights in Jammu & Kashmir irrespective of religious preferences.