The Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) has called on the India government to disassociate itself from Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi’s provocative “victim shaming” remarks on Kashmiri Pandit genocide and their return and rehabilitation.
In a public programme on August 1, Lekhi made a series of statements which betrayed her complete abdication in the duty of care that the state owes its citizens generally and Kashmiri Pandits specifically, it said.
In seeking to project “normalcy” and equating their ethnic cleansing to a migration and putting the burden of the return of Kashmiri Pandits on individual members of the community, she has condoned genocide, it said.
Her statements have invited a near unanimous condemnation within the Kashmiri Pandit community.
A GKPD statement said as a lawyer, Lekhi is well aware that under international law, the Indian government is liable for non-refoulment when the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits happens in their homeland. As the Minister of Culture, Lekhi should be taking ownership of her responsibility as to how to resurrect the 5000-year-old Kashmiri Hindu civilization which is being systematically eradicated.
“As the Minister of State for External Affairs Ms. Lekhi should not be giving a clean chit to Pakistan and its proxies by her rhetoric of ‘where is the problem?’ when terrorist activities targeted the Kashmiri Pandits, killed over 1,600 innocent community members and these killings continue to this day. Insensitive statements such as ‘Government is doing its bit…’ when even after 31 years the Government still has not met the representatives of the Kashmiri Pandit community to address their core concerns of Justice, Restitution and Return will only be seen as political eye wash,” it said.
The GKPD calls upon “Minister Lekhi to withdraw her ill-advised comments, and the Government of India to partner with the Kashmiri Pandit community to come up with a long term, equitable solution to Kashmiri Pandit genocide,” it said.