Monday, June 30, 2014

Round Table Meet

The Kashmiri Pandit exodus is now into its 25th year. For the first time Kashmiri Pandits see a ray of hope in a national leader. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s robust espousal of the national interest, a no non-sense approach to security related challenges and an unqualified commitment to national integrity are particularly a matter of assurance for us, the Hindus of Kashmir in exile.

Along with this hope have risen some apprehensions too. Whether those in the government vested with the task, are sufficiently aware of the issues and the challenges involved? Are they reaching out to the community for wider consultations?

The recent spate of meetings the senior government officials and some ministers have had with the usual suspects from within the community is a matter of concern. Also, linking the return of the exiled community to the valley with only money, jobs and land is even bigger reason for alarm. This is a renewed attempt to sell the same non-solutions that the old congress governments have been attempting in the past. Such attempts tend to reduce our exodus from the valley to some kind of a natural calamity like famine flood or earth quake.       

Roots in Kashmir, the frontline organization of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits, organized a ‘Round Table Conference” in Delhi, where the leading Kashmiri Pandit organizations and credible individual activists were invited. The agenda was to discuss the critical prerequisites for a viable and sustainable rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in the valley.

The round Table was attended by Dr. Agnishekar, Convenor Panun Kashmir and Dr. Ajay Chungroo,  Chairman Panun Kashmir, Sh.Rakesh Razdan, Vice President, Kashmiri Samiti Delhi, Sh.Amit Raina, Coordinator, APMCC, Sh.Kundan Kashmiri, President, Kashmiri Pandit Conference, Sh.Veerji Wangoo, President, Youth for Panun Kashmir, Sh. Sunil Shakdar, Chairman S K Foundation, Sh.Pavitra Handoo, Former President Kashmir Overseas Association, Sh.Ashish Zutshi, Roots in Kashmir, Sh. R.K Mattoo, Former Editor, The New Indian Express,  Dr. S S Toshkhani, well known Poet, Linguist, writer & scholar, Sh.P.L.Razdan and Ashok Zalpuri, known community activists  amongst others.

A unanimous resolution was passed by the participants representing the community, clearly identifying the 4 non-negotiables for the return of the Kashmiri Pandits:

1.    Acceptance of the problem as religious cleansing and genocide - It was resolved that the issue of return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus to Kashmir valley cannot be addressed without recognizing the fact that they were subjected to religious cleansing  and genocide which eventually lead to their displacement. Addressing the issue of return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in any other concocted context only compounds the problem and is tantamount to denial of genocide.

2.    Forming a Tribunal of Justice - It was resolved that the government of India should recognize the problem of uprootment of Kashmiri Hindus as genocide and invoke the covenants of prevention of genocide. It was further resolved the government of India should create a tribunal on the pattern of Nuremberg trials to bring the perpetrators of genocide of Kashmiri Hindus to justice.

3.    Centrally Administrative Place, One Territory - It was resolved that Kashmiri Hindus be rehabilitated at one centrally administered territory in Kashmir valley with free flow of Indian Constitution. A sustainable and permanent return of Kashmiri Hindus will be possible only in such a dispensation.

4.    Accession of Kashmir is non-negotiable - It was resolved that accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is final and irrevocable.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kashmiri Pandits protest Omar Abdullah's remark on their exodus

Sunday, 4 May 2014 - 10:40pm IST Updated: Sunday, 4 May 2014 - 10:45pm IST | Place: Srinagar | Agency: PTI            
A group of Kashmiri Pandits today held a protest over recent remarks by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that the exodus of the community from the Valley took place in 1990 when Jagmohan was the Governor.
Holding placards, the Pandits raised slogans at Jantar Mantar against Omar and said his remarks of blaming BJP for the exodus was akin to "not acknowledging the real reason and the people" responsible for it.
The protests held by Jammu-based organistaion Youth 4 Panun Kashmir (Y4PK) and joined by Roots In Kashmir (RIK), condemned Omar's statements on the issue.
"We are tired of listening to rhetoric and being refugees in our own country," Amit Raina of Roots In Kashmir said.
Omar recently in a rebuttal to BJP leader Narendra Modi's attack on him and NC chief Farooq Abdullah that their family "communalised" the state had said, "When Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley, Jagmohan, who has not parted ways with BJP yet, as far as I know, was ruling the state (as Governor). Farooq Sahib was not in power."
"Jagmohan was appointed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (now PDP patron), who was the Home Minister in VP Singh cabinet. VP Singh was heading the government with BJP support...I hope they (BJP leaders) remember this," Omar said.
The protesters demanded that an inquiry commission be set up to look into the "incidents and violence" that led to their community's exodus from Kashmir on Jaunary 19, 1990.
"And, Omar said we had 'left' Kashmir. Playing politics, he put the blame on BJP. Don't we know who did it? We condemn his statement," Panun Kashmir member and a protester, Lalit Ambardar said.
Panun Kashmir Delhi Co-ordinator Vithal Chowdhary, who fled J&K when he was just seven years old, said, their demands were very simple and their protests always have been "against the Indian state and not the Indian nation".
The protesters also alleged that Farooq's recent remarks that "those who vote for Modi should drown in the sea" was a way for the father-son duo to "absolve" themselves of their responsibilities.
"Among our other demands is a piece of land back in our homeland Kashmir where we can live and be governed by a free flow of the Constitution, without the shadow of Article 370 over our head. We don't want to be treated as minorities but as any other Indian," he said.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Omar Abdullah Blog - May 2008

It's so easy to say that we will lay down our lives to bring Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley and I appreciate the sentiment as I am sure the Kashmiri Pandits reading it will. Pity that sentiment was missing when our mosques were being used to drive these people out, None of us was willing to stand up and be counted when it mattered. None of us grabbed the mikes (microphones) in the mosques and said 'this is wrong and the Kashmiri Pandits had every right to continue living in the valley.

Our educated, well-to-do relatives and neighbours were spewing venom 24 hours a day and we were mute spectators either mute in agreement or mute in abject fear but mute none the less.
And talking about mosques -- what a great symbol of mass uprising they proved to be. While I can't claim to have lived through it I have enough friends who did and they tell me about the early 90's where attendance was taken in mosques to force people to pray.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kashmiris sway to Reh

Kashmiris sway to Reh

NEW DELHI: It's spring in Kashmir, and Navreh (Kashmiri Pandits' New Year) is round the corner. Soon the frost will give way to pleasant weather, drawing people out of their homes and onto the streets. But, for the pandits scattered outside the Valley, the celebrations can lose some of their flavour.

The community, however, has been striving to keep the spirit alive, as evidenced by the annual 'Reh' youth festival, which was held at Pamposh Enclave in the capital on Saturday. The event, which was started in 2007, brings together the successive generations for a celebration of their culture. Navreh is loosely translated as the new fire or light, with 'Reh' standing for a celebration of light.

"We started this event to bind young Kashmiri Pandits together and involve them in our culture. For a start, we played Kashmiri folk songs for the audience but that didn't muster enough enthusiasm. To quicken people's interest, we sprinkled it with some rock, creating a fusion of new-age rock with old-style Kashmiri folk, which held the audience in thrall. It's been a pleasure being a part of this celebration," said Rashneek Kher, founder of Roots in Kashmir (RIK).