A Hope for Justice in a Distant Homeland

Opinion Editorial
The Tampa Tribune
June 10, 2002
The current crisis between India and Pakistan is a clear test for us to see
whether we keep our words, "You are with us, or you are with the
terrorists".  So far, President Bush has kept his word in spite of our
interests in maintaining a good relationship with Pakistan.

Before many Americans knew who Al-Qaeda were, Muslim separatists
trained by groups such as Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan have
created havoc in my home state of Kashmir, India for the last 12 years.  
Amnesty International came hard on India asking why she was not
granting independence to Kashmir. This was while Muslim separatists
were killing Kashmiri Hindus and moderate Muslims ruthlessly.  For several
years, the Indian government also did nothing for reasons of apathy and
fear of international reprisal.

Hindus lived in Kashmir centuries before the modern missionary religions
of Islam and Christianity came into existence.  Kashmiri Hindus suffered
and resisted conversion to Islam in spite of heavy taxation and threats of
death over several generations.  Now they have either been killed or are
living like refugees in their own country.  A great culture of Kashmiri
Hindus has been destroyed and virtually ceases to exist as they have
been scattered all over India.

Only when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan, did anybody
pay attention to how ruthless these extremists can be and how an "ally"
like Pakistan can be a harboring and breeding ground for these
extremists.  Now we are finding that Al Qaeda is regrouping in Western
Pakistan.   That is not only a clear threat to USA but also to India.  There
are not many places left for them to flee and create mayhem.

I wish Associated Press would get off its high horse and pay close
attention to what they write.  All AP reports about Kashmir conclude with
"India accuses Islamabad of arming and training Pakistan-based militant
groups but Pakistan denies the charges, instead saying it only provides
moral and diplomatic support for Kashmiri separatists."   What the heck
does "moral and diplomatic support" mean?  Would we stand "still" if
Mexico gave "moral and diplomatic support" to people who want Southern
California to be independent or become part of Mexico?  Would Canada
stand "still" if France gave "moral and diplomatic support" to people who
want Quebec to be independent?  There is a difference between terrorism
and freedom struggle.

Although sorry for my personal loss, a few people even have told me that
my father's murder at the hand of Kashmiri Muslim militants in August
1990 was part of a bigger cause of bringing freedom to Kashmir.  You may
wonder why he was killed -  a singular reason - being a Hindu.  On that I
tell them, "I dare you to make a similar statement to Lisa Beamer and
relatives of 3,000 other people killed on September 11, 2001."

As I pass by the Martin Luther King mall at the University of South Florida
campus, I still have hope when I read under Dr. King's statue - "Injustice
anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere".   I hope justice prevails
because that is a true test of a civilized world.

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