Take Action on Crucial Issues for Hindu Americans
Much of the reporting on Kashmir has been inaccurate. Write a letter to the editor of the New York Times AND your local newpaper.
It's important to write to national papers such as the New York Times to impact the national narrative, as well as to local papers so you can have a bigger impact on the hearts and minds of your neighbors, who read local news.
Sample points to make for a letter to the editor on Kashmir
- The administrative steps taken by the Indian Government within its own borders in Jammu and Kashmir were in full compliance with Indian law. The bill in the Indian Parliament repealing Articles 370 and 35A passed with broad, multi-party support. Articles 370 and 35A, adopted in 1949 and 1954, respectively, were passed as temporary measures and were never meant to be permanent.
- Articles 370 and 35A were discriminatory, especially for Kashmiri women. For example, if a Kashmiri man married a woman from outside Kashmir, he kept his property and inheritance rights. However, if a Kashmiri woman married a man from outside Kashmir, she would lose her property and inheritance rights. The Indian government’s abrogation of these articles brings freedom and equality to all the citizens of Kashmir and India, especially women. This is a positive step and should be welcomed by civil society. To oppose the Indian government’s move in Jammu and Kashmir is to support the oppression of women.
- By making the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir a ‘Union Territory,’ the Indian Government has granted the people full citizenship. It’s like the U.S. government making Puerto Rico a state with full rights. This is a good thing. One nation of laws for everyone. That’s how democracy works.
- This coming January 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of a violent and systematic campaign to ethnically cleanse over 350,000 Kashmiri Hindu Pandits from the Kashmir Valley at the hands of Pakistani sponsored Islamist terrorists. Because of Articles 370 and 35A, these displaced Kashmiri Hindus became refugees in their own country and were denied the right to own property or vote in Kashmir. There are several thousand Kashmiri Hindus in the U.S. today. The plight of Kashmiri Hindus should not be ignored and they should have the right to return to their ancestral homeland. The repeal of these discriminatory laws finally gives Kashmiri Hindus a real opportunity to return to their homes.
Tell US Congress and the President You Support the Indian Government’s Move Towards Resolving the Kashmir Conflict
Email your Representative and the White House and tell them you support the Indian government’s abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A
On August 5, 2019 the Government of India took a historic step towards a solution to the decades-old conflict over Kashmir, by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A to India’s constitution that conferred special status on the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
As a secular pluralistic democracy, it is vital that all citizens of India enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same laws, regardless of where in the country they reside. We believe that the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, which were only intended as temporary provisions, is an important step in this direction. It will help better integrate the residents of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh into the rest of India and apply one set of equal laws across the country. Moreover, it will help create conditions for the full rehabilitation and resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley.
We urge the U.S. to fully support India’s internal sovereign decisions on Kashmir and to continue to exert pressure on Pakistan to end its support of cross-border terrorism, so that peace is restored in Kashmir once and for all.
Article 370 restricted the Indian Parliament’s legislative power over Jammu and Kashmir to defense, foreign affairs, and communications, forcing residents of Jammu and Kashmir to live under a separate set of laws that prevented them from enjoying the same rights as other Indian citizens.
Similarly, Article 35A defined who were permanent residents of the state and determined who could buy property in the state and enjoy other special rights and privileges. It effectively discriminated against Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, who had been ethnically cleansed from the state in 1989-1990 and were no longer permanent residents. It also discriminated against women who married individuals from outside the state, by denying their spouses permanent resident status in Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s central government also took further steps to address long-standing issues in the state of Jammu and Kashmir by splitting up the current state into two Union Territories: one for Ladakh, and one for Jammu and Kashmir itself. Buddhist leaders in Ladakh had long called for separate Union Territory status for Ladakh and complained of being socially and economically marginalized by state policies that favored the Kashmir Valley.
Dear [Sen. or Rep. Last Name OR President Trump]:
As a supporter of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), I would like to inform you of the recent administrative steps taken by the Government of India to bring peace and justice to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
I fully support the Indian Parliament’s repeal of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution because it will fully integrate the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh into the rest of India and apply one set of equal laws across the country. For over 70 years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered under these provisions, which were originally intended to be temporary. Now, the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, regardless of religion, socio-economic status, or gender will have the same rights and educational/economic opportunities that all the people of India enjoy.
Further, the corrupt ruling families in Kashmir who have maintained a tight grip on local government, who personally profited from economic development projects, and who have supported criminal acts and terrorism will no longer govern with impunity. In short, the steps taken by the government of India within its own borders were done legally and it has brought freedom to the people of Kashmir, established universal law and order, and will bring justice to those who have suffered under a discriminatory system.
The U.S.-India relationship is the cornerstone for achieving the mutual interests of both nations in the Indo-Pacific region. Rooting out Pakistan’s cross-border terror network and the recent moves by the government of India in Jammu and Kashmir are both major steps in that effort. I urge you and your colleagues to support these efforts as I do.
Please work with HAF to learn more about the history of Kashmir, the current events taking place, and encourage your colleagues to support the government of India as they take the courageous steps necessary to bring peace and justice to the region.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
[INSERT YOUR NAME AND YOUR ADDRESS]
HAF Urges Swift Passage of Resolution Condemning Pakistan-based Terrorism in India, Supporting the Rights of Kashmiri Pandits
Email your Representative in support of H.Res. 408, a resolution condemning the terrrorist attack in India that killed 41 Indian Central Reserve Police
H.Res. 408 was introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The list of cosponsors can be found here (If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send them a ‘thank you’ email).
This resolution recognizes that on February 14, 2019 a Pakistan-based terrorist organization, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), attacked an Indian Central Reserve Police convoy in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, killing 41 Indian police officers and wounding at least 44 others. It also establishes that JeM claimed responsibility for the attack and is a United Nations Security Council and United States Government-recognized terrorist group.
The resolution further states that JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in India, including attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly in October 2001 and on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. H.Res. 408 notes that the Government of Pakistan has admitted that JeM leader Masood Azhar is in Pakistan, and that the United Nations designated him as a global terrorist.
In addition, this important, bipartisan legislation expresses US support of the “rights of religious and other minorities around the world, including Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims, Sikhs, Sindhis, Hindus, Christians, Jews, and Ahmadis” and “reaffirms solidarity with the Indian people and offers its deepest condolences to people who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack.”
“HAF applauds Congressman Sherman for introducing this important, bipartisan resolution. Swift passage of H.Res 408 will send a strong message – that the US stands shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism. We urge Congress to do its part and quickly pass House Resolution 408,” stated Taniel Koushakjian, HAF Director of Public Policy.
Below is a sample email that you send to your Representative to encourage them to co-sponsor H.Res. 408. Later this year, we will release a similar campaign for the Senate.
Look up your Member of Congress on the House.gov website and click on the email icon under your Representative’s name. Then copy and paste the Sample Email below. Note the sections in brackets where you need to fill in and/or personalized the message.
Subject Line: Support H.Res. 408
Dear Rep. [LAST NAME]:
As a supporter of the Hindu American Foundation and your constituent, I urge you to co-sponsor H.Res. 408, a resolution condemning the terrorist attack in India that tragically killed 41 Indian Central Reserve Police.
This resolution recognizes that on February 14, 2019, a Pakistan-based terrorist organization, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), attacked an Indian Central Reserve Police convoy in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 41 Indian police officers and wounded at least 44 others. JeM claimed responsibility for the attack and is a United Nations (UN) Security Council and United States Government-recognized terrorist group.
JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in India, including attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly in October 2001, and on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. The Government of Pakistan has admitted that JeM leader Masood Azhar is in Pakistan, and on May 1, 2019 the United Nations designated him as a global terrorist. Terrorist groups such as JeM pose a threat to peace, security, and democracy in South Asia. Since 2003, more than 11,000 people have died in Kashmir from violence committed by Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups, including JeM.
This important, bipartisan legislation also expresses U.S. support of the “rights of religious and other minorities around the world, including Kashmiri [Hindu] Pandits,” who were targeted and ethnically cleansed from their homes in the Kashmir Valley by Pakistan sponsored militants in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits live in India as internally displaced persons. They have a legitimate right to return to their ancestral homeland in the Kashmir Valley.
Please work with the Hindu American Foundation in advancing this and other issues of importance to the Hindu American community. I urge you to co-sponsor H.Res. 408, encourage your colleagues to do the same, and vote for the resolution whenever it comes to the floor.
To co-sponsor H.Res. 408, (Democrats) contact Mr. Zachary Keck in the Office of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) at 5-5911 or email@example.com, or (Republicans) contact Ms. Laura Detter in the Office of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) at 5-5836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about this resolution and the Hindu American Foundation, please contact Mr. Taniel Koushakjian, Director of Public Policy, Hindu American Foundation, at (202) 223-8222 or email@example.com.
Thank you for your support.
Email your Representative in support of H.R. 2123, which advances the United States-India strategic relationship
H.R. 2123 was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who sits on both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. The bill deepens, enhances, and strengthens the US-India relationship, specifically in the defense, security and economic areas, as well as regional and global cooperation mechanisms. The list of cosponsors can be found here (if your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send them a 'thank you' email).
“HAF commends Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his leadership in introducing H.R. 2123, a critical bill that enhances and strengthens the US-India strategic partnership. As the world’s oldest and largest democracies respectively, the US and India are natural allies with shared values and national interests. Accordingly, it’s vital that Members of Congress support this bill,” said HAF Board Member Aseem Shukla, MD.
Below is a sample email that you can send to your Representative to encourage them to co-sponsor H.R. 2123. Later this year, we will release a similar campaign for the Senate.
Look up your Member of Congress on the House.gov website and click on the email icon under your Representative’s name. Then copy and paste the sample email below. Note the sections in brackets where you need to fill in and/or personalized the message.
Subject Line: Support H.R. 2123
Dear Rep. [LAST NAME]:
As a supporter of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and your constituent, I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 2123, “The U.S.-India Enhanced Cooperation Act of 2019”, which would deepen the U.S.-India strategic partnership.
The United States is the world’s oldest democracy, and the Republic of India is the world’s largest democracy. As such, America and India have a critical role to play in world affairs. From promoting democracy, to combating terrorism, to countering an emerging China, to scientific and space exploration, now is the time to anchor the U.S.-India strategic partnership.
This bill builds on the June 7, 2016, India-United States Joint Statement entitled “The United States and India: Enduring Global Partners in the 21st Century”, in which the United States recognized India as a Major Defense Partner. The bill would also facilitate the role of the U.S. and India as priority partners in South Asia and greater Indo-Pacific region.
India has the potential to be America’s most important ally in the 21st century, and adoption of this important, bipartisan legislation will allow the U.S. to play a leading role in securing the joint national interests of both nations.
Please work with HAF in advancing this and other issues of importance to the Hindu American community. I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 2123, encourage your colleagues to do the same, and vote for the bill whenever it comes to the floor.
To co-sponsor H.R. 2123 please contact Mr. Oren Adaki in the Office of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) at 5-2452 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about this bill and the Hindu American Foundation, please contact Mr. Taniel Koushakjian, Director of Public Policy, Hindu American Foundation, at (202) 223-8222 or email@example.com.
Thank you for your support.