NEW YORK - Hundreds of American Muslims came out on roads in New York in an extraordinary demonstration of support and solidarity with the Kashmiri people who are under siege since India’s annexation of occupied Kashmir. Apart from Pakistanis and Kashmiris, those who demonstrated in front of the Indian Consulate included Turks, Arabs, Bangladeshis, Bosnians as well as black and white Americans. Among the protestors were students from Columbia University, an elite American educational institution.  The rally, held under tight police security, was sponsored by “Stand with Kashmiris,” an umbrella body established, among others, by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Emotionally charged protesters raised slogans and waved placards inscribed with slogans denouncing India’s action in Kashmir and demanding withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed territory.Speakers at the rally called upon the Indian government to immediately reinstate the protected status of the disputed state, lift the siege, and enter into peaceful negotiations with Pakistan and people of Kashmir to determine future of the state in accordance with the UN resolutions. Earlier, Kashmiris and Pa istanis, joined by Sikhs, staged a protest demonstration in front of the Indian Mission to the United Nations, which is located several blocks from the Indian Consulate. The demonstrators, who were carrying flags of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, shouted slogans against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and carried banners bearing slogans like “Kashmiris in Pain; India in Shame”, “Kashmir: Nuclear Flashpoint” “Modi:

Face of Indian Terrorism”, “Indian forces out of Kashmir”, “Self-determination for Kashmiris”, “Kashmir banega Pakistan”.

 

 Among the Kashmiri leaders who addressed the demonstrators were Ghulam Nabi Fai, Sardar Sawar Khan and Captain (r) Khalid Shaheen Butt who called for unity at this critical juncture to counter India’s move to change the demographic nature of the held Kashmir.

 

 Speaking on the occasion, Amarjit Singh, a Sikh leader, said that the Sikh nation would stand by the Kashmiris in their struggle to get rid of the Indian yoke.

Fai, who is secretary general of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, expressed satisfaction over UN Secretary General (SG) Antonio Guterres’s statement that UN resolutions on Kashmir were still relevant and that the dispute should be resolved through dialogue  in accordance with the UN Charter.

He said the SG’s statement debunks India’s claim that the Kashmir was its integral part.