A Hope for Justice in a Distant Homeland
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 the 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 of 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.
CITATION: Autar Kaw, “A Hope for Justice in a Distant Homeland”, Opinion Editorial, The Tampa Tribune, June 10, 2002, last accessed at http://autarkaw.com/a-hope-for-justice-in-a-distant-homeland/