Kashmir Task Force Overview

Kashmir Task Force is an arm of Indo-American Community Federation dedicated to finding a solution to the decade’s long Kashmir problem.

Message from Chairman

It was a very unfortunate day in early 1990 when we learnt about the exodus of our community members from Kashmir, resulting in their refugee status in their own country India. They were thrown into a very miserable condition. It was a very sad day!

Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA), a national organization of Kashmiri Pandits rose to the occasion and started mobilizing the overseas community to help these victims of terrorism. The Association did a commendable job in reaching out to all the U.S. members to support our unfortunate segment of the community in dire need.

While I was very heavily involved with KOA as the National Vice-President, I felt it was necessary for us to mobilize the Indo-American community, keeping our small numbers in view, to help the victims and at the same time, fight the misinformation in this country spread by the terrorists. I spearheaded a campaign as the Regional Vice President of National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA). Kashmir Task Force Committee was formed under NFIA.

As Chairman of this Committee, Burton resolutions favoring the separatists were very strongly condemned and we went on a rampage to educate U.S. lawmakers and media to recognize the plight of Kashmiri Pandits.

It was a indeed a very difficult task since most of the members of Congress and Senate felt strongly against the human rights record of the Government of India. It was in 1991 when late K.L.Kaul (Past President of KOA), whose tremendous contributions for Kashmiri Pandits have not been matched by anyone so far, called to invite me to form a national political network since Kashmir Task Force was limited to educate only Californians. That is when Indo-American Kashmir Forum was born with me as founding member and the western regional Convener.

I, on behalf of Indo-American Kashmir Forum, convened a very powerful International Symposium in 1992, in association with the local FIA and other Indian organizations in California to highlight the plight of suffering Kashmiri Pandits. It paved the way for a very long and tough battle to save this community. In 1994 and 1996, I led delegations to Jammu camps on behalf of local Federation of Indo-Americans (FIA) of Northern California and Indian American Friendship Council respectively. Several children in Jammu camps were sponsored by Indian American Friendship Council Founder Dr. Krishna Reddy in 1996 during that trip.

In 1998, Kashmir Task Force was revived as a Committe of Indo-American Community Federation to find a solution to this serious problem. Several international symposia were convened including an international symposium in year 2001 inviting Kashmiri artists for the first time to this country to promote art and culture. Two senior Congressmen, Jim McDermott (Washington State) and Mike Honda (California) were in attendance for the two day Symposium and cultural night at Fremont Hilton in California.

In spite of all the hard work by so many community leaders in India and elsewhere, Kashmiri Pandits are nowhere close to returning to their homes in Kashmir but a lot of work is being undertaken by Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) and its affiliates in India and other countries to continue the struggle, to sustain as a community. I wish to thank all those who gave support and hope.

Thank you.

Jeevan Zutshi

 

Kashmir Problem through Kashmir Pandit Perspective by K L Chowdhary

for our various programs including helping children and to start computer centers in refugee camps.