Hundreds of Indian-Americans assembled outside the Indian Consulate in Houston on Saturday in support of India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
Indian Americans, under the aegis of the Houston chapter of Friends of India Society International (FISI) and the Houston chapter of Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), raised slogans like “hail Indian democracy”, “hail Indian secularism”.
They were carrying banners like “Article 370, draconian, discriminatory”, “Pakistan – stop manufacturing terrorists” and “Pakistan let us live in peace”.
The gathering also thwarted a protest march by Islamic Society of Greater Houston to show solidarity with Pakistan.
The FISI hailed the “visionary leadership” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “landmark decision”.
Madhukar Adi, an activist, leading the Houston FISI Chapter, said revoking provisions of article 370 and declaring Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory with its legislature and Ladakh as a separate UT will provide equal opportunities to all the residents without any discrimination on the basis of cast, creed, ethnicity and religion.
“The only agenda left is to regain the occupied part of Kashmir which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” he said.
Achalesh Amar, national treasurer of FISI, said Kashmiri Hindus for the last 30 years have been living as refugees in their own country India.
“Current decision by the PM should not be seen through the prism of religion. The common residents of the state will have access to better education, healthcare, profound development, employment,” he said.