The State of New York has become the first state in the United States to proclaim 5 February as “Kashmir-American Day” – the day when Pakistan observes “Kashmir Solidarity Day” expressing support to Kashmiris. The New York State Assembly on Wednesday marked 5 February as “Kashmir-American Day” by adopting a resolution through a voice vote. The legislative resolution, adopted in the New York State Assembly on February 3, calls on Cuomo to proclaim February 5, 2021 as Kashmir American Day in the State of New York.
Pakistan has called it a “welcome development”, while producing a sharp reaction from India which noted with “concern” attempts by “vested interests” to misrepresent Jammu and Kashmir’s rich cultural and social mosaic to divide the people.
The resolution, sponsored by Assembly member Nader Sayegh and 12 other lawmakers, states that the “Kashmiri community has overcome adversity, shown perseverance and established themselves as one of the pillars of the New York immigrant communities”. It adds that “the State of New York endeavors to champion human rights including the freedom of religion, movement and expression for all Kashmiri people, which are embedded within the US Constitution, through the recognition of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious identities.”
Commenting on the resolution, a spokesperson of India’s Embassy in Washington said, “India celebrates its diversity and rich cultural mosaic, including in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India. We note with concern the attempt by vested interests to misrepresent the rich cultural and social mosaic of Jammu and Kashmir to divide the people”.
The spokesperson also added, “We will engage with the elected representatives in the New York State on all matters concerning India-US partnership and the diverse Indian diaspora”, when asked questions about the passed resolution. In a tweet, Pakistan’s Consulate General in New York acknowledged the role of Sayegh and The American Pakistani Advocacy Group towards the adoption of the resolution.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcating it into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India has firmly told Pakistan that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and shall continue to be an integral part of India. New Delhi has maintained that issues related to Jammu and Kashmir are internal matters to India. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.