New Delhi: A group of Kashmiri Pandits living in Delhi tonsured their heads yesterday to mark the day 20 years ago when a member of their community was shot dead by militants in Jammu and Kashmir triggering their exodus from the valley.
“On September 14, 1989, militants killed a Kashmiri Pandit in the heart of Srinagar. This sowed the seeds of our eviction from our homeland. This is a symbolic protest against injustice towards our community,” said Kamal Hak, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi.
“Twenty of our community members tonsured their head to mark 20 years of our Martyr’s Day,” said Hak, who along with his wife had left their home in the Kashmir in 1990.
Around 200 people of the community gathered near Yamuna river to protest. There was prayer meeting after which “people tonsured their heads”.
Hak said around 80,000 Kashmir Pandits are “living in exile in Delhi and its suburbs and all of them have expressed solidarity with the initiative”.
Tikalal Taploo, a lawyer, was the first Kashmiri Pandit victim to terrorism. “He was killed by terrorists right outside his house. After his death, hundreds of Pandits were killed by terrorists within the next four years. Post-1993, the number of killings has fallen as the majority of us have left the valley for other cities,” Hak added.
Aditya Raj Kaul, who was just a year old when his parents left the valley in fear, said: “Neither the administration, nor human rights organisations have ever highlighted our plight. The media too has overlooked us. September 14 is our Martyr’s Day and all Kashmiri Pandits observe it with a prayer for justice.”
Hak said that at least six of their community would meet National Security Advisor M K Narayanan to demand justice for “hundreds of those killed by militants”. - IANS