Monday, December 10, 2007

Pandits criticise Rights Panel - The Asian Age

New Delhi, Dec. 9: "Roots in Kashmir", a youth group from Kashmir, held a protest rally on the occasion of International Human Rights Day here on Sunday to bring to light the alleged injustice perpetrated on Kashmiri pandits.

The activists marched from Jantar Mantar to Shaheed B.K. Ganjoo Park at Gole Market. The protesters also paid obeisance at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, signifying the importance of the martyrdom given by Guru Teg Bahadur for the pandit community. "Roots in Kashmir" has condemned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for not coming to the rescue of the Kashmiri pandits. "It has been 14 years since the formation of NHRC but it has completely failed to address the grievances of the Pandit community, which is living in its 18th year of exile from its homeland," said Roots in Kashmir media coordinator Aditya Raj Kaul.

To escape persecution, more than 500,000 Kashmiri pandits had to leave their homes in the Valley and out of that, more than 50,000 are still languishing in uninhabitable refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. "The NHRC has ceased to exist for us. We have submitted memorandums, fought cases and even met all senior bureaucrats and officials to appraise them of the situation but no results till date," said Ms Neeru Kaul, an activist from the group.
"It continues to work as a biased forum," she added.

Roots in Kashmir is also unhappy with the Indian government over the issue of terrorism. "In spite of cases of serious nature pending against terrorists, they roam free, but Pandits continue to live a life of refugees in their own land," Mr Aditya Raj Kaul said.

Roots in Kashmir chief coordinator Amal Magazine said, "The international recognition of our issues is the result of the struggle launched by the Pandit group during the last 17 years of exile. Roots in Kashmir holds that terror has become a pan-India phenomenon now with global linkages and the group endeavours to bring to light the real culprits and murderers of innocent Kashmiris."

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