Kashmiri Pandit exodus Remembrance Day

Kashmiri Pandit exodus Remembrance Day

Kashmiri Pandit exodus Remembrance Day:We are

determined to return to a life of peace in our

homeland, in the spirit of Kashmiriyat 

 

Kashmiri society is at a historic crossroads. Any process for lasting solutions, in whatever form, is incomplete without the presence, participation and physical involvement of the Kashmiri Pandit community in the affairs of Kashmir

January 19 marks a day of commemoration for Kashmiri Pandits who are vulnerable to targeted killings to this day. On this day in 1990, people from the community were expelled from the Kashmir Valley. They became refugees and sought refuge in Jammu, Delhi and various other places. They left behind their houses and herds, which are now destroyed, sold for peanuts and often occupied by armed insurgents by force.

Kashmir today is largely devoid of Kashmiri Pandits. A religious minority whose history and roots have been linked to Kashmir for more than 5,000 years was forcibly evicted as part of a concerted plan of ethnic cleansing.

To avenge defeats at the hands of India, sophisticated weapons were reportedly smuggled into Kashmir from across the border by the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency, the ISI. The Pandit community and the majority of Muslims were the main targets of the armed terrorists. Terror prevailed, and hundreds of Kashmiris were brutally murdered.

Post the exodus, the community was reduced to a tiny minority — according to Census figures, their population in the region was 15 per cent in 1947, 5 per cent in 1981, and only 0.1 per cent in 1990. About 1,500 Kashmiri Pandits, including women and children, were brutally murdered, about 250 religious shrines were burned, and 50,000 peasant families were deprived of their land.

The brutal killings of Kashmiri Hindus began over 30 years ago, on September 14, 1989. On that day, BJP leader Tika Lal Taploo, a prominent lawyer of the Srinagar Bar Association, was shot by JKLF terrorists outside his house in downtown Srinagar. Retired District and Sessions Judge Neelkanth Ganjoo was killed at Hari Singh High Street Market on November 4, 1989. Ganjoo had presided over the trial of JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat for the 1966 murder of police inspector Amar Chand, and in August 1968, he sentenced Bhat to death. This sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1982.

On April 30, 1990, three armed militants abducted Sarwanand Koul, a well-known freedom fighter, teacher and scholar, from Shali village in the Kokernag region of Anantnag district. His younger son Virendra Koul sensed something was wrong. He joined his father, but two days later two bodies were found with broken limbs, torn-out hair, and slashed and burned skin. The late Sarwanand Koul “Premi” was so popular that the Jammu and Kashmir government decided last year to introduce the Urdu version of the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and the Kashmiri version of the Ramayana, which the late Premi had authored, in all educational institutions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the benefit of students.

There are hundreds of similar stories of gruesome killings, torture, intimidation, looting and robbery of property of Kashmiri Hindus by terrorists and their local sympathisers.

After individual killings, mass killings of Hindus began, terrifying the remaining families living in different parts of Kashmir. The massacres in Sangrampora, Wandhama, Chatisingpora and Nadimarg alone claimed the lives of more than 60 innocent Hindus and Sikhs of Kashmir.

The targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits have continued.

The security situation along the India-Pakistan border remains of great concern. Tension and killings in various parts of the state are ongoing phenomena. The LG administration and the central government are primarily concerned with addressing security problems. However, the problems of Kashmiri Pandits have not been given serious consideration. Their issues are mentioned in the BJP’s election manifestos and from time to time by senior leaders. The promise is that the reversal of exile in Kashmir is imminent and the Kashmiri Pandit issue is a priority item on the political agenda of the central government.

Kashmiri society today is at a historic crossroads. Its peaceful ethos, its liberal Islam, its culture of Sufi saints, its Kashmiriyat, and its image as a strong citadel of coexistence and pluralistic society have been shattered and devastated by decades of violence by terrorists and mercenaries.

After individual killings, mass killings of Hindus began, terrifying the remaining families living in different parts of Kashmir. The massacres in Sangrampora, Wandhama, Chatisingpora and Nadimarg alone claimed the lives of more than 60 innocent Hindus and Sikhs of Kashmir.

The targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits have continued.

The security situation along the India-Pakistan border remains of great concern. Tension and killings in various parts of the state are ongoing phenomena. The LG administration and the central government are primarily concerned with addressing security problems. However, the problems of Kashmiri Pandits have not been given serious consideration. Their issues are mentioned in the BJP’s election manifestos and from time to time by senior leaders. The promise is that the reversal of exile in Kashmir is imminent and the Kashmiri Pandit issue is a priority item on the political agenda of the central government.

Kashmiri society today is at a historic crossroads. Its peaceful ethos, its liberal Islam, its culture of Sufi saints, its Kashmiriyat, and its image as a strong citadel of coexistence and pluralistic society have been shattered and devastated by decades of violence by terrorists and mercenaries.

Any process for lasting solutions, in whatever form, is incomplete without the presence, participation and physical involvement of the Kashmiri Pandit community in the affairs of Kashmir.

All Kashmiris urge Pakistan to stay away from Kashmir and stop cross-border terrorism against its peaceful people. Kashmiris are determined to return to a peaceful, pluralistic and democratic way of life. The Kashmiri Pandit community is determined to return to their homeland sooner than later to live and enjoy their right to a peaceful and secure life, freedom, political self-determination and spiritual and cultural space.

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/kashmiri-pandit-exodus-remembrance-day-8392362/

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