January 2019 News

KPs Demand A Separate Township Within Kashmir

19 January 2019
State Times

New Delhi: Some members of the Kashmiri Pandit community gathered at the Raj Ghat here on Saturday to mark the 29th anniversary of their forced exile from Kashmir and demanded creation of a separate township in the valley for them. They took an oath to return to Kashmir Valley and appealed to the government to fulfill 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 terrorists, 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, Mona 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.' Meanwhile, a group of Kashmiri Pandits staged a demonstration outside the Raj Bhavan here to mark the 29th anniversary of their exodus and demanded a blueprint for their return to Kashmir Valley and rehabilitation. The protest was organised by the All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) and was attended by a members of other socio-political organisations of the community. They submitted a memorandum to Governor Satya Pal Malik enlisting their various demands, ASKPC President Ravinder Raina said. He alleged that the community had been deceived with 'false and hollow promises' of return and rehabilitation by successive governments. He demanded that the government immediately come out with a blueprint for the return of the community to Kashmir with honour and safety. 'Pending this, the community should be declared as internally displaced,' he said. All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference president H N Jattu reiterated the demand for an immediate blueprint for their return. Panun Kashmir leader Shiban Khaibri asked for a probe into the events of 1990 by a Supreme Court judge and punishment against the culprits. Former bureaucrat Kiran Wattal was of the opinion that the community should be brought under the purview of the recently-announced 10 per cent reservation in employment and educational institutions for economically backward category, as they have been deprived of their homes, agricultural land and lifelong earnings and properties. Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust chairman R L Pandita demanded the passage of the Temples and Shrines Bill to protect the religious heritage of the community.