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Indian Americans caution US university on demand to display ‘flag of Kashmir’

Washington, May 4, 2024
Indian Americans are calling upon a US university not to implement a portion of one of the demands it conceded to protesting students to display on campus the flags of “occupied people”, which listed Kashmiris along with Palestinians and the Kurds.

“This is a dangerous territory for Rutgers to get involved (sic),” Thomas Abraham, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), wrote in a letter to Jonathan Holloway President, Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey state.

“By even considering this demand, you are questioning the integrity of India. Kashmir is very much part of India. There is no separate flag for Kashmir.

Kashmir residents are not displaced people. In fact, the displaced people are the Hindu minorities who had to leave Kashmir because of violence against them. If Rutgers displays such a flag of Kashmir, that will be the beginning of more sit-ins by students who are opposed to such flags,” Abraham wrote.

The university has not implemented this demand.

“The Office of the Chancellor will take stock of flags that are displayed across Rutgers- New Brunswick campus, and ensure appropriate representation of students enrolled in academic and other spaces,” Chancellor Francine Conway wrote in a three-page letter responding to the protesting students on Thursday.

The students had demanded, as specified in her letter, “display the flags of occupied peoples — including but not limited to Palestinians, Kurds, and Kashmiris – in all areas displaying international flags across the Rutgers campuses”.

Students were protesting the Israeli war in Gaza as students of many universities across the country and had put forth 10 demands.

The top demand, which has been common to protesters in all other universities, was divestment from companies doing business with Israel or supporting its war effort and cutting links with Israel.

The chancellor said the university is reviewing these links and will discuss the findings with the students.

Indian Americans are focussed on the one allowing the display of the flag of the “occupied people” of Kashmir. “So @RutgersU has caved,” Suhag Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation wrote in a post on X.(Agency)

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