Indian Community Urge Ro Khanna to Withdraw from Pakistan CaucusSeptember 17, 2019 13:22
(Image source from: CBS News)
Over 200 Indian American organizations have urged Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna to move out of the Congressional Caucus on Pakistan, saying it was contrary to both India’s geostrategic interests and American principles.
The 42-year-old Khanna joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus last month and became the first Indian American to take that step. In addition to Pakistan Caucus, he is also the member Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, the largest country-specific caucus in the House of Representatives.
In a letter dated September 16 to the Indian American lawmaker, Hindu and Indian American organizations professional associations and community leaders urged Khanna to withdraw from the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
A copy of the letter was released by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and it stated:
As a leading member of the House India Caucus, Foreign Affairs Committee, and a champion of human rights, we are deeply troubled that you joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
The letter alleged that Pakistan continues to utilize the terror assets to attack U.S. interests in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war against India.
They further said Pakistan has shown a complete and utter disregard for human rights and religious freedom and was recently labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department for its systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom against Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Shia, and Ahmadiyya Muslims.
“We believe that your membership in this Caucus is contrary to both American principles and our geostrategic interests in the Indian Subcontinent and the broader South Asian region,” the letter said.
“Accordingly, we urge you to withdraw from the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. We further urge you to write directly to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and meet with (Pakistan) Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan to address Pakistan's ongoing use of terrorism to destabilise the region and its rampant and severe human rights violations,” it said.
Further raising concerns with Congressman’s recent tweet on Hindutva, the letter asked him to issue a clarification on the matter.
Khanna, in a tweet last month, said that "it is the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist, and Christians".
Important article. It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians. That is the vision of India my grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar fought for.— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) August 29, 2019
The tweet triggered divisive views among the Indian-American community.
The community members also recommended Khanna to make a formal statement for the Congressional record, focusing on the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, who were driven out from their homes by Pakistan-sponsored terror campaign three decades ago.
The members said that they looked forward to Khanna following through on the assurances he made on Sunday about working to address the suffering of both Indian and Pakistani religious minorities at the hands of the Pakistan government.
By Sowmya Sangam