After the Indian Government announced its state of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian-Administered Kashmir), Indian-Australian Hindus and Muslims hailing from the territory have reacted with surprise to the sudden change.
Narendra Modi's government has changed the status of Indian-Administered Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir) through constitutional manoeuvrings, leaving the Indian-Australian community, especially people who come from the state, divided over the announcement.
Brisbane based Kashmiri Hindu Ashutosh Raina is President of Kashmiri Pandits, Australia and tells SBS Hindi, “Kashmiri Pandits all over the world are so happy that we danced wherever we were at the time [of hearing the news].
“Almost one thousand Kashmiri Pandits joined over a conference call last evening and expressed their happiness over the decision."
Not everyone is happy with the removal of special status from Indian-administered Kashmir, such as Melbourne-based Amir Raja, who used to call the Northern city of Srinagar home.
“As a Kashmiri I am disappointed, dejected and frustrated, I don’t have words to explain it," he says. "Whatever has happened should not have happened.”
“If Jammu and Kashmir are better integrated with the rest of India because of this, it will be good. But how will it have better integration if there is no local consent in the decision-making process?”
Indu Koul is President of Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Association in Melbourne and says the change is a “historic decision."
“The majority of the people from Kashmir like Dogras, Laddkhi, Pandits are happy with what has happened, however, few Kashmiri Muslims are not happy but when [economic] development will happen it will change.”