Congressman Tom Suozzi, D-NY, who represents the 3rd Congressional District in New York, has ruffled some feathers in the Indian-American community for his letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to make Kashmir a top priority in U.S. foreign policy, a news report said.
Suozzi’s District includes parts of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, where a significant number of South Asian-Americans live, including a sizable number of those of Pakistani and Indian origin. Many from these communities had supported him heavily during his election campaign.
The Press Trust of India reported that on Aug. 9, Suozzi sent a letter to Pompeo, on the actions of the Indian government in revoking Article 370 which had granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“These new restrictions on the autonomy of the state and the rights of Kashmiris could also embolden extremists and terrorists to act,” Suozzi said adding that the action taken by the Indian government “risks provoking mass social unrest…” according to the PTI report.
Suozzi, who met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan July 23, during his visit to the U.S., tweeted on July 24, about his meeting, saying, ” Pakistan and America have a long-standing relationship. I represent a large population of Pakistani-Americans and have developed many friendships in the community over the years,” and also added, “Our two countries have had many ups and downs. We must work together to repair our relationship and to achieve our common goal of peace in the region.”
Prior to that, on July 21, following the brutal attack on a Hindu priest in Queens, Rep. Suozzi tweeted, ” I strongly condemn the recent attack on a Hindu swami in Queens. I will continue to stand in solidarity with the Hindu community in my district and across America. May god grant Swami Ji strength, so he may fully recover.”
The PTI report quoted an Indian American organization, American India Public Affairs, saying the community was not happy with the Congressman. “We Indian Americans are very upset with Congressman Suozzi,” Jagdish Sehwani, president of AIPA is quoted saying, adding that Kashmir was an integral part of India and an internal matter.
Ravi Batra, a New York attorney, tweeted, “#Pandering is a cousin of #appeasement @RepTomSuozzi. Our (US Flag) interests after 9/11 are unmistakable: make the world #TerrorFree. That’s ahead of #nuclear”
Suozzi called for a community meeting to discuss the issue. His call for a meeting was tweeted out also by Batra. It read, “Congressman Tom Suozzi would like to meet with his friends in the Indian American community to listen to their concerns regarding India and the region, receive your input so that he can have a balanced view of the situation. He welcomes a candid dialogue on this matter. The meeting was scheduled for Aug. 11 morning at Apna Ghar in Hicksville, N.Y.
Batra called for Suozzi to withdraw his letter to Pompeo or cancel the meeting.