Declare Us Internally Displaced: Kashmiri Pandits
26 November 2007
New Delhi: Saying they would wish to go back to their roots even if forced to 'remain in exile for 1,000 years', displaced Kashmiri Pandits are demanding that they be declared internally displaced persons. In search of their identity and home, they organised a musical concert here this weekend with the help of one of their Delhi organisations, Roots in Kashmir (RIK). The musical sojourn at Chinmaya Auditorium in south Delhi brought forth a nostalgic montage of the Kashmir valley, which is silhouetted by unceasing violence. 'Keeping in touch with our lost culture is to memorise our homeland,' 18-year-old Aditya Raj Koul of RIK told IANS. 'Kashmiri Pandits feel cheated,' he said. 'We demand the affected people should immediately be declared internally displaced persons (IDPs), in accordance with the definition of the UN.' IDPs are people forced to flee their homes but who, unlike refugees, remain within their country's borders. Nearly 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits flee the valley after militancy broke out in 1989, and since then they have been living in camps in Jammu, Delhi and other places in India. One of the posters in the presentation made the point of Pandits longing to return. 'Even after 1,000 years of exile, we will be back to the valley, back to the roots in Kashmir,' read the poster.