Displaced Kashmiri Pandits protest govt 'apathy'

Last Updated 19 January 2015, 10:15 IST

Distressed over the long-wait of 25 years to go back 'home', displaced Kashmiri Pandits today staged a protest here demanding immediate steps for their rehabilitation and accused both state and central governments of doing nothing to facilitate their return to the Valley.

Wearing black badges and bands as a mark of the protest at Jantar Mantar, the Kashmiri Pandits also asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring a 'white paper' on what they have done so far for their rehabilitation.

"It has been 25 years in exile and soon it will become a once upon a time story. Neither the state government nor the central government has paid any attention to our grievances.

"We demand a 'white paper' be issued by the state and central governments on the action taken to rehabilitate and bring back Kashmiri Pandits who had left their homes in wake of militancy in 1990," Ravinder Pandita, Head of All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee, said.

January 19 marks the beginning of the exodus of the community from Kashmir in the wake of militancy there.

As per official figure, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country out of which around 40,000 families are residing in Jammu and 19,000 families are in Delhi.

The protesters also burnt posters of Pakistani flag and raised slogans against that country.
"We are not tourists here, we want our homes back. Government has been a silent spectator to our demands so far. There has been no judicial probe into the killings of Kashmiri pandits in 1990," Sandeep Raj Koul, a protestor said.

Anil Bhat, another activist said, "Isn't the government ashamed? There have been five Chief Ministers since then and no one has tried to pay any heed to our demands."

The protesters are also presenting a memorandum to the Prime Minister and Home Minister demanding a white paper on their rehabilitation.

The community had yesterday resolved not to hold weddings or any other family celebrations on two days of the calendar

-- September 14 and January 19 -- as part of their efforts to "keep alive" the struggle for "homeland".

Separatists had started killings of Pandits in the Valley on September 14, 1989.
The resolution was passed at a day-long programme 'Kashmiri Pandits' 25th Year in Exile' held jointly here yesterday by four organisations -- Panun Kashmir, Youth for Panun Kashmir, Kashmiri Samiti Delhi and Roots in Kashmir.

September 14 has already been adopted by the community as 'Martyrs Day', the day on which in 1989 separatists started the selective killings of Pandits in the Valley.

(Published 19 January 2015, 10:15 IST)

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