‘Together we’ve to build a new Kashmir’: Modi to Kashmiri Pandits in Houston

PM Modi acknowledged the hardships endured by the community following their exodus from their homeland back in 1989-1990 due to militancy.
PM Modi interacts with the Kashmiri Pandit community in Houston, Texas ahead of the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event.(TWITTER@PMOIndia)
PM Modi interacts with the Kashmiri Pandit community in Houston, Texas ahead of the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event.(TWITTER@PMOIndia)
Updated on Sep 22, 2019 05:59 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Kashmiri Pandit community in Houston met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and thanked him effusively for the historic decision of the Indian government to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The prime minister acknowledged that the community had endured a number of hardships at the time of their exodus from their homeland back in 1989-1990 due to militancy. “You have suffered a lot, but the world is changing,” PM Modi said. “We have to move ahead together and build a new Kashmir.”

In a tweet following the interaction, PM Modi said, “I had a special interaction with Kashmiri Pandits in Houston.”

One of the members of the delegation kissed PM Modi’s hand to thank him “on behalf of 7 lakh Kashmiri Pandits” for the move. The delegation assured the Prime Minister of their community’s support in building a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir.

“We thanked him on behalf of the 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits all over the globe for such a historic decision. We assured him that our community will work with the government to fulfill your dream for a Kashmir which is peaceful, full of growth where people are all happy,” Surinder Kaul, a member representing the Kashmiri Pandit community said.

The delegation presented a memorandum, requesting the PM to establish a task force or advisory council comprising of members from the community that would “bring together respected Kashmiri Pandit community leaders, subject matter experts and key stakeholders both in India and abroad to advise and help in the development of a comprehensive plan to repatriate and reintegrate Kashmiri Pandits to the region”.

It added that the community looks forward to working with the Indian government and the newly constituted Union Territories to bring inclusive and sustainable development for the benefit of all, as well as to returning home in order to restore Kashmiri civilization’s core values of peace, pluralism and religious freedom.

“The Prime Minister told us: You’ve suffered a lot together; we’ve to build new Kashmir. We presented him with messages the community prepared for him. I presented a memorandum on behalf of the community. He gladly accepted that,” Kaul added.

“When we talked of Article 370, he said there’s a new breeze and we’ll build a new Kashmir. We’ve hopes from the PM, we’ll work with him and make Kashmir a paradise again,” said Rakesh Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit.

Before leaving, PM Modi joined the group in reciting ‘Namaste Sharade Devi’ shloka.

The meeting was preceded by interactions with members of the Sikh and Bohra community in Houston. The interactions come ahead of the mega Howdy, Modi! event, where US President Donald Trump will be joining Prime Minister Modi. More than 50,000 members of the Indian-American community are expected to attend the event.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021