A large number of people from various faiths, professions and ethnicities attended the Kashmir Vigil held on Friday, September 6, 2019 at the SC Statehouse Grounds. Young and old, individuals and whole families as well as two local Imams - Imam Adly and Imam Bashir - turned up to stand in solidarity with the seven million residents of Indian Administered Kashmir whose basic human rights have been grossly violated.
The vigil was organized by PICNA and co-sponsored by Carolina Peace Resource Center to raise awareness about the plight and suffering of Kashmiris who have been under complete lockdown for over a month, with total curfew, no cellphones or landline phones and a total information blackout. Recent events were triggered by Indian Government’s revocation of the special autonomous status of Kashmir on August 5.
Ever since 1947, when India and Pakistan gained independence form the British, Kashmir, often referred to as a paradise on earth, has been a disputed territory between the two countries who each administer a part of Kashmir divided by a vulnerable Line of Control (LOC). At least three UN resolutions have remained un-implemented since 1957 resulting in deepening of the crisis that now threatens not only regional but world peace.
A number of Kashmiris whose families have been affected by the Indian clampdown addressed the audience and narrated harrowing details of gross human rights violations by the Indians. Josh Cooper of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) shared with the participants, the historic background of the Kashmir issue and the impending danger of a fully fledged war between India and Pakistan. Dana Alhasan from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) passionately spoke about the suffering of the Kashmiris and equated their struggle and pain with that of the Palestinian people.
“When Chaudhry phoned me to inform me about the Vigil on Kashmir, I knew we had to support it in a big way”, said David Matos, President of Carolina Peace Resource Center. Matos, who is well known as a voice for the humanity, inspired the audience with his warm words and compassionate thoughts. Addressing the participants of the Vigil, Chaudhry Sadiq, President of PICNA, highlighted the humanitarian crisis facing the region and warned of the danger of an impending nuclear conflict between the two Atomic Powers, India and Pakistan unless an early solution is found by the world powers. In Chaudhry’s view implementation of the pending UN resolutions may be the best way to end this 70 year old human crisis.
Finally, Imam Bashir from Masjid Noor Ul Huda, prayed for an end to suffering of the Kashmiris and others being persecuted around the globe and for peace and harmony in the world.
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