IAKF to host Kashmir Symposium on June 9th
Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF), the premier organization representing Kashmiri Hindus in the U.S., is pleased to announce a symposium, titled, “From Paradise to Ideological Battleground: A Symposium on the Kashmir Conflict”, to be held in the Northern California Bay Area on June 9, 2001 at Newark-Fremont Hilton. The purpose of the symposium is to inform and educate the interested audience on the latest events in Jammu and Kashmir State of India, and discuss possible avenues of conflict resolution. Jammu and Kashmir became an international issue in 1947 when Pakistan sponsored an invasion of the state, and India took the case of Pakistani aggression to the United Nations. Since then Pakistan has made numerous attempts toforce secession of the state from India.Overt and covert threats of nuclear action by Pakistan since 1991 to back its sponsorship of the violence have led many international observers to consider the state a nuclear flashpoint. During the past 12 years, the Introduction of Islamic fundamentalism and Talibanism has further complicated the situation, with insurgents justifying their violent acts on the concept of Jehad and bringing extreme and widespread misery to the civilian population of the State. An endless stream of Pakistan-trained mercenaries and terrorists flood the state every year, with thousands of “madrassas” and terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan acting as jehad factories for young Muslims from around the world. The ultimate target of this jehad enterprise is not just Kashmir, but the rest of India, and ultimately the entire world.The 1989 Kashmir insurgency began with ethnic cleansing of over 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of the state. This minority is still unable to return to its homeland due to continued threats from Pakistan-sponsored terrorists. The Kashmiri Pandit community is now dispersed throughout India and the world and is struggling to keep its culture and identity alive while in exile. The panel of speakers who have accepted the invitation to address the symposium are well known Kashmir experts and policy makers. They include Congressman Jim McDermott, co-chair of the India Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassadors Teresita and Howard Schaffer, Director of Terrorism Task Force, Yossef Bodansky, Prof. SarDesai of UCLA and Prof. Raju Thomas of Marquette University.