New Delhi: A Kashmiri Pandits group on Monday said they have sought the United Nations’ intervention for withdrawal of a postage stamp issued in Pakistan, alleging it had pictures of their protest to highlight human rights violations in Kashmir.
The group has written a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seeking his intervention for the stamp’s withdrawal.
A major controversy broke out recently after stamps carrying 20 different images were issued in Pakistan on Kashmir-related issues, including one with a picture of Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri militant leader killed in 2016. The stamp described him as a “freedom icon”.
In the letter the group has said the picture in one of the stamps is of a protest organised by the ‘Roots in Kashmir’ at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, some five-six years ago, said Amit Raina, the coordinator of the group.
“We wish to bring to your kind notice that the Pakistan government had recently issued postal stamps which they believe would aid in ‘highlighting’ the human rights abuses of Kashmiris at the Indian government,” according to the letter.
The letter said the issuance of a postage stamp was a “malicious attempt” to raise the bogey of Kashmir.
The group has also sought an appointment with Guterres, who is on a visit to India, Raina said.
“We have found one stamp (which we are attaching herewith in the letter), which is the picture of a protest carried out by the Kashmiri Pandit group Roots in Kashmir to protest against its forced exodus and exile, the perpetrators of which are terrorists and subversives supported by Pakistan,” the letter read.
“We see this an attempt to appropriate the exodus and exile of Kashmiri Pandits and thus a spiteful attempt at not just deflecting blame but also an attempt to deny the victims of ethnic cleansing a right to protest by appropriating their symbols of protest,” it said.
The group requested the UN, to not only intervene to “safeguard their existence” but also ask the Pakistan government to withdraw the stamps and issue an apology.
“We request the United Nations, to not only intervene to safeguard our existence, but also write formally to the Government of Pakistan to withdraw the stamps and ask them to issue an apology to the entire Kashmiri Pandit community for the crimes against them and also for the false representation they have tried to make by using the protest picture of Roots in Kashmir,” the letter said.