June 2016 News

Refugees, Pandits Unite To Take On Separatists

19 June 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: With separatist organisations closing their ranks to oppose settlement of Pandits back in the Valley and granting of rights to Hindu and Sikh refugees displaced due to Kashmir issue since 1947, refugees' organisations have decided to unite to fight 'propaganda' against them. Refugee leaders have also reaffirmed their resolve to continue fight against the discrimination meted out to them by successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir and silence of the Central government, which they said had 'succumbed' to pressure tactics of fundamentalist and radical elements in Kashmir. A seminar 'J&K, Jehad, Genocide - The refugee crisis since 1947', organised by Panun Kashmir (PK) on the eve of World Refugee Day with speakers alleging that minorities were the victims of an 'ideological movement' which aimed to turn the state into a Muslim-majority state. 'Hindu refugees should use all means which put their case in a perspective and in an internationally recognised frame-work and there is a need to challenge all such euphemism and policies of the state that have kept refugees embroiled in a situation of confusion and helplessness for almost 70 years', said the resolution passed in the seminar. Speaking on the occasion, Jammu for India (JFI) convener Prof Hari Om said that time had come for the minority community, especially those displaced since 1947, to have a united front. 'Demand for autonomy and self-rule defining politics of the Kashmir-centric political parties and demand for freedom by the separatist constituency are primarily a reflection of the majority community's intent to establish an exclusivity Islamic state,' said Hari Om, former ideologue of BJP who resigned from the party over alliance with the PDP. West Pakistan Refugee Action Front's Labha Ram Gandhi said that while refugees from China and Tibet were quickly absorbed and bestowed citizenship and basic rights, the Hindu refugees had been denied even basic citizenship rights. The speakers also expressed concern over reports that Dharamarth Trust, the custodian of Hindu temples and shrines in the state, was allegedly contemplating to sell the premises belonging to the Guptaganga Asthapan situated in Srinagar. 'Guptaganga was an important symbol and holy place to the Sanskrit civilization of Kashmir. The place was synonymous with Abhinavgupta and references to it were available in the ancient texts of Kashmir. The place had a great significance to the growth of Kashmir Shaivism,' said Panun Kashmir chairman Ajay Chrangoo. Others who spoke on the occasion included POJK Displaced Persons Front president Rashpal Singh Chib, eminent social worker Yuvraj Gupta, and Panun Kashmir convener Agnishekhar.