Kashmiri Pandits mark 30th year of exodus from valley; demand immediate resettlement, action against perpetrators

Several members belonging to the Kashmiri Hindu community staged a protest in New Delhi on Sunday to mark the 30th year of the community’s mass exodus from the Kashmir valley.

News agency ANI reported that several protesters holding placards which read ‘Holocaust Day – 19.01.1990’, and ‘Kashmiri Pandits, Victims of Religious Cleansing Facing Apartheid’ organised a demonstration in the city on this day. They demanded justice for the victims and severe punishment for those responsible for the exodus.

“We have been observing this ‘black day’ since January 19, 1990, when we were driven away from our homes,” ANI quoted Advocate Ravinder Raina, president of the All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC). Raina raised a question to the government, asking why it has not taken up this issue seriously like revoking Article 370 and Triple Talaq. “Why have they been silent for the last 30 years for us?” the ASKPC president said.

General Secretary of the ASKPC, Dr TK Bhat, also said, “The Islamic terrorists drove us away from our homes by pointing their guns at us, misbehaving with our women, and killing our men. They had exiled us from our roots, and we have been living like refugees in our own country for the last 30 years.”

Interestingly, he added that even though the Kashmiri Pandit community had ‘great expectations’ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he too has not taken adequate steps to ensure their rehabilitation. “All the governments have just used us as a political tool,” the ASKPC General Secretary alleged.

The community demands immediate resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits as well as special care to look after their empowerment and economic rehabilitation. In addition to this, they also want the appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to take action against the people responsible for the exodus of the community.

During 1989-1990, several thousand Hindus were forced to flee the Kashmir valley as a result of being targeted by Islamist insurgents. Most of these Kashmiri Pandit families resettled in Delhi-NCR and Jammu, and have since demanded that the government ensures they can return to their native place.

Courtesy : DNA

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