SRINAGAR: The Non-Resident Kashmiris based in the United States of America staged a rally in the centre of Chicago to highlight the human rights violations being committed in Kashmir Valley.
A statement released by Kashmir Solidarity Council of North America said on Tuesday that Chicago’s immigrant Kashmiri community came together on Sunday to draw a “sharper spotlight on the little-covered humanitarian crisis and to call for an end to the brutality of this latest wave of military violence”.
Hundreds of Kashmiri-Americans gathered with their allies at the centre of Chicago, and marched to raise public awareness about the “growing political and humanitarian crisis” that threatens the entire region, it said.
It said dozens of civilian killings, thousands of injuries at the hands of government forces “tear at diaspora community”.
“India has imposed constant curfew across the region for the last seven weeks, while fatalities and injuries occur almost daily across Kashmir at the hands of Indian soldiers,” the statement said.
Many Kashmiri-Americans live in the metro Chicago area, and their relatives are among those who’ve witnessed or experienced the violence in Kashmir, it said.
“Many of those injured confront a terrible fate – the loss of their eyesight, since troops have been shooting at protesters’ faces with ‘non-lethal’ pellet guns,” it added.
“Yet the state-sponsored violence has occurred largely within a media blackout, as India’s right-wing government has blocked all TV channels in the region, restricted reporters’ mobility and shut down internet and mobile phone access in the region, while the Indian army has ordered the burning of all copies of newspapers in the Valley. Facebook came under fire last month for participating in the censorship,” it said.
The Kashmiri-Americans, as per the statement, are calling on the government of India to end the “indiscriminate” killings of civilians and lift its “draconian media blackout” of the region.
At the same time, it said, they are urging the US legislators to join human rights activists in condemning the “state-sponsored violence”.