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Kashmiri Pandits Demand Separate Townships on Forced Exile Day

Kashmir Pandits have been demanding separate townships in the Kashmir Valley so that they could safely relocate back with dignity, honour and without any fear. Members of many Kashmiri Pandit organizations gathered in New Delhi and many other parts of India to mark the 29th anniversary of their forced exile from Kashmir and reiterated their demand for a separate township. 

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The Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was an unfortunate incident which took place in beginning of1990 when most of the Kashmiri Pandit families were asked to leave from the Kashmir valley due to the sudden outburst of terrorism. Lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits families fled their homes during that ill-fated event.

According to the Indian government, more than thousands of families are listed as Kashmiri refugees including some Sikh and Muslim families. These families were resettled in Jammu, Delhi-NCR, and other neighbouring states. Only a few hundred families of Kashmiri Pandits continued to live in the Kashmir valley.

They took an oath to return to Kashmir Valley and appealed to the government to fulfil its duty by facilitating their return. They commemorated Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day, the organisers said in a statement. On this day in 1990 hundreds of thousands of protesters, along with armed militants, occupied streets of Kashmir shouting slogans against the minority community which eventually led to their exodus from the valley. “Many Kashmiri Pandits were killed, raped and tortured before and after 19 January 1990 in a series of targeted killings of minority Pandits,” it said.

Remembering the night, VK Razdan, one of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, said that the night was “possibly the longest night of our lives”. “Mobs from all over the valley had occupied every single road in Kashmir. They shouted slogans against Pandits asking us to either join them or leave the valley,” she said. Regretting the current state of the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community, Vivek Raina, a young student, said, “More than 50,000 of our people perished in the inhabitable camps. They fell to snake and scorpion bites. There still is a refugee camp in Jammu that harbours more than 25,000 people and is no better than a concentration camp.”

Jatin Saproo, a young school student, said, “It is so painful that we are almost like this country’s stepsons despite the fact that we were the only people who upheld the values of Indian civilisation in Kashmir. We lost everything and got no justice. Don’t I have the right to live in my home.”

More at EurAsian Times


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