Saturday, April 23, 2016

RIK supports Anupam Kher

Roots in Kashmir the frontline organization of Kashmiri Pandits condemned the news report about prominent activist and famed actor Anupam Kher published in the DNA newspaper.The news report is malicious in intent and more a hit job than a piece of news.The very fact that no prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader or organization was contacted but a few fringe elements who have absolutely no say or have done no community work have been quoted in this supposed news report proves that it was a fake news report.
Anupam Kher has been active about the Kashmiri Pandit cause since 1st Kashmiri Pandit World Conference in 1993.He has been to refugee camps numerous times and has actively spoken and highlighted the cause of exodus,exile and injustice meted out to Kashmiri Pandits.

It seems the separatists and other anti national forces are terribly unnerved by the issue of KPs gaining prominence and are thus using their proxies to pull down the most visible face of Kashmiri Pandits.By terming two individuals (who incidentally most in the KP community don't even recognize) as organizations representing KPs goes on to show that the supposed story has been done at someone's behest.The newspaper  report was so opinionated that it even doesn't bother about the very fact that Mr.Kher is being recommended to Rajya Sabha as an actor and not because he is a Kashmiri Pandit.
We do hope that the newspaper which published the farce publishes this note on the same page so that the world knows that KPs not only support but love Anupam Kher.

Monday, February 29, 2016

JNU row and much more | A Kashmiri Activist speaks out

Recently, on 9th of February, there was a cultural evening organized, by Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). This event was partially supported by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU). At the tail of the event, students of both the students unions started shouting anti-India slogans. Although, the numbers of students raising such kind of slogans were few, but, still it had an impact. Because, they were in the campus of country’s most prestigious university, i.e. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Here, one thing is noteworthy that, on the objection of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for the event, the permission for the event was cancelled by the Vice Chancellor (V.C) of university. And, the same was communicated to the organizer of the event: Umar Khaleed (DSU). But still, the students from DSU and JNUSU, went ahead with the event, although in an informal way. The event was against the hanging of terrorist, Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt. They were of opinion, that, it was a “judicial killing”! Students with this opinion, started raising anti-India slogans like: ‘Kitne Afzal maroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega’, ‘Bharat ki barbade tak Jang rahege, Jang rahege ‘, ‘Pakistan zindabad’ etc. etc.
The video recording of the event was out in public domain after two days. The whole country was not able to believe that, all this is happening on Indian soil! Soon, after the release of recording, a complaint was registered by Mr. Mahesh Giri (BJP-M.P) with Delhi Police. Police came into action and detained Kanhaiya Kumar, President, JNUSU. People of average intelligence can understand the motive behind the action of Police. If you want to know, the students involved in the anti-India act there in the campus, you must enquire someone from the crowd. For this, who is better than President, JNUSU, who was very much there in the event.
Police have identified the students involved in the act. And, have asked V.C of the university to handover these students to Police. But, these students were absconding. Now, although they have returned, they should have surrendered themselves to Police on the day of return itself. If they believe that, they have not done anything wrong, then, why were they scared of court trial? By the way, these so-called brave students of JNU, why were they hiding from Police for almost 10 days? And, who has given them cover for these 10 days? That means, they have network deep in the country. The irony is that, few Professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) were also defending the students, who raised anti-India slogans! The moment it was clear that, Kashmiri students were also involved (like: Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice –President, JNUSU), many activist demanded to Police, that, they should also be interrogated. Soon, Omar Abdullah, Ex-CM, J&K, twitted that, “now being a Kashmiri Muslim is crime enough to warrant interrogation!” Here, I must say to Mr. Abdullah, that, being a Kashmiri Muslim is not a crime, but, being a Pakistan loving Kashmiri Muslim, with anti-India slogans, on Indian soil is a crime! Many leaders from communist party started saying- JNU students have ‘freedom of expression’!
In a democratic country like ours, every citizen has the ‘freedom of expression’. This is what article 19(1)(a) of Indian constitution says, but, with few reservations. So, reservations are described in article 19(2) which says- there should not be contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence, on the name of ‘freedom of expression’. Now, you don’t need to be super intelligent to note that, students with their anti-India slogans (stated above) have very much violated the article 19(2) of Indian constitution. To the best of my knowledge, in the history of any democratic country in the world like: United States of America, France, Germany etc. have not tolerated such kind of anti-nation acts on their soil. Then, why India should tolerate such kind of acts?
To understand all this, we need to go in depth of the issue. In a democratic country, there are supposed to be different ideologies. Basically, that is the strength of the democracy. But, these ideologies should not challenge the basic fabric of democracy by any means. Yes, they have challenged the very basic fabric of democracy! One need to understand, in democracy, one can challenge the government and its policies, but, no one can disrespect his or her own nation. Although, in India, it has become a fashion now! Now-a-days, across the globe, there are battles of ideologies going on! Among many ideologies, there is one, Marxist ideology. People who believe in this ideology are known as Leftist. To understand Marxist ideology, I would like to quote, author Barry Clark, he said, “Leftists claim that human development flourishes when individuals engage in cooperative, mutually respectful relations that can thrive only when excessive differences in status, power, and wealth are eliminated.” Although, I respect, everyone’s thoughts and ideologies, but, I have my own reservations on Marxist ideology. Because, there are no examples in the history of India, where, they have proved their ideology, for the betterment of our country. Here, I mean to say, that, how they are going to achieve this? How they are going to make it possible, that, every citizen of the country is equal in terms of status, power and wealth? May be by converting a rich man to poor!! At least, history of India has witness, that, how they have always been in opposition of any development plan of the country. So, this itself proves that, this ideology is nothing but a gimmick!
They have brought this ideology, all the way, from Europe, some 80 years back. Since, then, they are making every effort to spread this ideology in India. Now, they have few numbers in the legislative assembly in states like West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala. Here, if you will see the history of Leftists in these states, you will realize that, they have done zilch for the up liftment of these states. On the contrary, there was serious doubt that, their ideologues were involved in anti-India activity, like in West Bengal. These things are supposed to happen. Because the person, Karl Marx, who gave the birth to this ideology, himself have not done anything remarkable for his own state: Prussia (now in Germany). Except writing for some radical newspaper like Rheinische Zeitung etc. Since, the Marxist, does not have made a single country ideal as per their ideology, it wasn’t able to attract people as much as it should have done in India from past 80 years! Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, in his Kathmandu speech in 1956 said, that, “Marxist way is based on force”! So, it’s quite clear that, people associated with this ideology are bound to speak about destruction. This is what has happened in JNU. And, will continue, until all nationalist, irrespective of their political ideology, religion, like-dislike, will come together to save their motherland from these pseudo-humanist!

Disclaimer: All the views and opinions in the article are solely those of the author’s.

Article written by:

Sunil Dhar

Kashmiri Activist and Co-founder of ‘Yekjah’ Pune.

Article originally posted on -

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kashmiri Pandit exodus: A blot on Indian secularism

*Shivani Bazaz (originally published on
19th January, 1990 is commemorated as the day when Indian secularism was butchered in the valley of Kashmir. A day which still haunts a community for the tragedy it brought on that fateful night. Some call it the Kashmiri Pandit exodus day; others simply mark it as the beginning of a 26 year exile which shows no signs of ending any time soon. 19th January is more than just an anniversary though. It is also a day on which without fail the world wakes up to the plight of the pandits. A storm of people showing solidarity, politicians making promises and some people welcoming pandits back with open arms but as soon as the day passes with tragic inevitability, the pandits remain where they have been since 26 years now- in the middle of nowhere.
Many writers, Journalists, political pundits and people who stand for the cause of Kashmiri pandits continue writing and speaking about the issue but let’s accept the fact that no one seems to care. Seeing things transparently and putting the truth brutally, Kashmiri Pandits were displaced out of their homes during the armed insurgency in 1990, men were killed, women were raped and no one helped them, neither the state nor their ‘brothers’.
Living as “refugees in their own country” for nearly three decades the displaced pandits still can’t return to the Valley. Unfruitful debates on the TV channels, political promises, rhetoric and ignorance is ruining the cause of Kashmiri Pandits since more than two decades now.
On the record it seems the conditions are ripe for pandits’ grand homecoming. From politicians to the Muslim majority in the state of Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the idea with open arms, and yet, it seems as distant as it has always been.
The two major problems in the return of the Kashmiri Pandits is New Delhi’s apathy and Islamist fundamentalism, says Yale World Fellow, Journalist and Author Rahul Pandita. He further adds: “The successive governments at the centre have not cared about how the Pandit community has lost its land, its habitat.”
Pandita sees the rising tide of Islamism in the Kashmir Valley as another threat and said that a majority of Kashmiri Muslims only open their arms for the Pandits when they go to their homeland as tourists. If there were a genuine concern indeed, there would have been at least an acknowledgement by now about what the majority did to the minority in Kashmir Valley in 1989-90.
Separatist ideology is another challenge when it comes to bringing harmony and normalcy to the valley. Siddaratha Giggo, author of ‘The Garden of Solitude’ and ‘A Long Dream of Home’ said, “Separatists oppose the idea of establishing a settlement for Pandits in Kashmir. Others say that Pandits are welcome to return. But how? If Pandits are to return to Kashmir and rebuild their houses, the people of Kashmir must create the conditions. Can Kashmiris rise above their divides, and pledge to create a Kashmir where everyone can thrive and co-exist?”
Among other reasons, trust deficit between the two communities plays the role of deepening the divide and making conditions hostile. Pawan Durani, a representative of Panun Kashmir, highlights how inaction has been the core of hindrance in the way of Kashmiri Pandit rehabilitation. Pawan says, “Has even a single person till date been convicted for killing of hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits? No. In absence of justice, how can we have the confidence to return? With open display of ISIS & Al Qaeda flags and thousands attending funeral of terrorists, how can we risk another generation of ours?”
These questions are hard hitting and sadly remain un-answered till date. While Kashmiri Pandits continue being the victims of not being a vote bank, governments in centre and state brush aside the silent screams of the community. Every year, the community remembers this day as a nightmare and hopes to go back to their homes some day. If these silent screams does not cower the nation, nothing will. The condition of Kashmiri Pandits in our nation today, proves that non-violence no longer remains the strongest tool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Roots in Kashmir Round Table 2

Roots in Kashmir, held its 2nd Round Table Conference on 20th June, at Delhi and as most of the leading KP organisations participated including JKVM and AIKS, who did not participate last year. Panun Kashmir, which was represented by Dr. Agnishekar and Dr. Ajay Chrungoo last year, chose to stay away from this year’s conference.

The agenda was to discuss the critical prerequisites for a viable and sustainable rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in the valley. The conclusions of the 1st RT were a key reference point and all were reviewed. There was a broad agreement among all the participants on those conclusions except for minor change of words. An additional point added to the four specific points made last year, was pertaining to the unjust conditions imposed on the KPs hired by the government as part of the PM's Employment Package. It was also decided to make RT a regular forum, and create an RT Committee to achieve better coordination among the RT participants.

The key participants in the 2nd RT were as follows: Col. Tej K Tickoo - Vice President, AIKS, Shri Sanjay Ganjoo – President, JKVM, Shri Vijay Raina - President, Kashmiri Samiti Delhi, Shri King C Bharati – National Spokesperson, APMCC, Shri Ashutosh Taploo - Convenor, Tikalal Taploo Foundation, Shri Kundan Kashmiri - President, KPC, Shri SK Bhat - President, JKVSS, Shri Sunil Shakdhar  - Chairman, SK Foundation; Dr. Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani, Capt. SK Tickoo, Shri Ashoke Pandit, Dr. Romesh Raina, Ashish Zutshi, Member Roots in Kashmir and Sh. Pawan Durrani.

The five points that the 2nd RT concluded on are as follows:
1. Accession of Kashmir is non-negotiable - It was resolved that accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is final and irrevocable

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. One Territory – One Single self governed/autonomous territory, exclusively for Kashmiri Pandits without article 370. A sustainable and permanent return of Kashmiri Pandits will be possible only in such a dispensation. And also removal of article 370 from the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir.

5. Rejecting PM Package Conditions – Rejecting humiliating and oppressive employment conditions imposed on the KP-employees of the Government of J&K, hired under the PMs Employment Package. The conditions should be immediately revoked.

It was also agreed to make RT a regular forum and create a coordination committee to for better coordination and to work on the immediate, short term and long term objectives of the community.                                                 

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Annual ‘Reh’ youth festival held in Delhi

, TNN | Apr 3, 2015, 12.46PM IST
NEW DELHI: It's been more than a quarter of a century since Kashmiri Pandits' exodus from the valley. Pandits' long pending demands for a separate homeland seem quite out of sight, but their efforts to preserve their culture are quite visible, especially in forms of rituals and annual festivals. 'Reh', the annual youth festival is in its fifth year now and this year's lineup of performers include not only professional singers but two children who come from migrant camps in Jammu. 

It is for the Vishal (14) and Vishali (16), siblings born in Jammu's migrant camps, where a large Kashmiri Pandit population, displaced after violence in early 1990s had shifted and continues to live till today. The siblings' family originally lived in Pulwama. Organisers say that through the festival, organized by Kashmiri Pandit youth, they're trying to provide the siblings with a platform which their otherwise poor financial condition isn't likely to get them. 

"The young boy has performed in a television channel before, his sister hasn't. Both are amateur singers with a lot of talent and we're invited them here to help them showcase it. Crowd pullers like King Paul Singh, noted Bollywood singer, will also be part of the festival. Our aim through the festival is to preserve our culture and our language along with the youth," said Amit Raina, coordinator, Roots in Kashmir (RIK). 

The annual 'Reh' youth festival has been held in KECSS grounds, Pamposh enclave for the last four years. It is held around the Pandit New Year - Navreh - to get the new Pandits together and celebrate their culture. Navreh, is loosely translated in Kashmiri as the New Fire or Light, so Reh alone is a celebration of light. 

"We started this idea of getting the young Kashmiri Pandits together and involved in our cultural celebrations. For the start we got Kashmiri folk songs for the audience we didn't quite work as we intended. Then we added some rock into it and brought out this fusion of new age rock with old style Kashmiri folk and most of our audience got hooked to it. It's been a pleasure being part of this celebration from then on," said Ashish Zutshi, of Roots in Kashmir (RIK) that has been organising this festival. 

The festival has been drawing increasing number of people. The first festival held in 2011, had an attendance of 350 people, about 600 people participated in the last year's Reh. Organisers say that more than 900 people are expected to attend this year's Reh, which will be held on April 4.

Source :

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

They Left the Valley 25 Years Ago. But for Kashmiri Pandits, Wounds are Still Fresh

25 years after he fled Kashmir along with thousands of other Kashmiri Pandits, Vimal Sumbly has trouble answering his young son's questions.   

"He says despite being a Kashmiri, he has never seen snow. What do I tell him?" said Sumbly. "The sad thing is you have to explain even to your own countrymen what happened. People still don't understand."

On 19 January, 1990, in the face of rising militancy, many families like Sumbly's left their homes overnight to escape death. The night is etched permanently in Amrita Handu's memory.

"In the middle of the night, the whole of Kashmir was on the roads. You felt you were going to die. I can never forget those slogans outside our homes," she said, voice choking as the memories flooded in.For these people living in virtual exile in their own country, the wounds are still fresh. That night, not only did they lose their homes, they also lost their identity.

More than the loss of home, it is the loss of identity that troubles many who fought against all odds to stay on their feet."We belong neither to Delhi, nor to Kashmir," said Rahul Mahnori. "Politically we don't have the force."

Five years ago, an urge to go back home made Sanjay Safaya leave his lucrative job with a multinational firm in Delhi. Today, sitting in his damp, two-room tenement in Budgam's Sheikhpora, he regrets the decision."We thought we would get a substantial package, but nothing substantial has come up," he said.

Safaya, 35, was among the 1,200 Kashmiri Pandits who returned to the Valley in 2010 as part of a much-publicised government attempt. They were resettled in five colonies and were given government jobs. But not much else. Essentials like ration cards and Aadhar cards have been a struggle. And this election, they couldn't even vote.