January 2000 News

Kashmiri Pandits plan march against `forced exile'

16 January 2000
The Hindu

NEW DELHI: Displaced Kashmiri Pandits from different parts of country will lead a protest march to the Prime Minister's residence on January 19 to mark the completion of a decade of "forced exile".

The protest, which has been organised by Panun Kashmir, will highlight the plight of over 350,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits who were forced out of their homes by militants and into living the life of a refugee in their own country.

The march, which will be led by the convener of Panun, Dr. Agnishekhar, will culminate with the presentation of a petition to the Prime Minister demanding justice and rehabilitation for the displaced community. The memorandum will be accompanied by signatures of over 100,000 persons from a cross section of Indian society. The signatures were collected by the activists of Panun Kashmiri as part of a campaign launched in India, the United State and other countries.

The march will also mark a re-launch of the agitational plan drawn up by Panun Kashmir to attract the attention of the Government and the people towards its demand for a separate home-land in Kashmir.

The statement said it had suspended its agitation in view of a new Government assuming power at the Centre and in the hope that it would be more sensitive towards their sufferings and genuine aspirations.

But now that the vents have proved that the Government has indulged more in rhetoric - with both the State and the Centre proclaiming vociferously the return of so-called "normalcy" in the Valley, the organistation has state that it would again seek its rights.

Panun Kashmir has also accused the Centre of failing miserably in curbing the flare-up of Islamic terrorism and the daring attacks on even high-security establishments in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Moreover, the recent lack-lustre and humiliating response towards the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane, amply demonstrated the Government's lack of political will in tackling the situation," it said.


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