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Exodus Day: Kashmiri Pandits commemorate the unfortunate event

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Jammu: 26 years after thousands of Kashmiri Pandits fled the Valley under terrorist threat, marking the day as Exodus Day; significant leaders from this migrant community visited the place on Tuesday, also paying homage to 24 people killed by terrorists in March 2003.

All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee(APMCC) sent a group of Pandit representatives to Visit the Nandimanrg village near Shopian. Also remembered as “Holocaust Day” by some, the group observed the day in the village.

Observed as the Exodus Day, 19th January was the date when in 1990 almost 3 to 4 lakhs Kashmiri Pandits had to flee from the valley as the pro-separatist militancy was at its peak and there were terrorist threat attacks. Even though the government both central and state, announced the packages for rehabilitation, not many Pandits returned to their native place out of the fear.

The group of nearly two dozen members was led by the party’s chairman Vinod Pandit, terming it the first visit by migrant community leaders to the Pandit settlement in Nadimarg by APMCC spokesperson King C Bharti. “The settlement now looks like a haunted place amid burnt and damaged houses,” Bharti said.

The chairman also laid the foundation of a memorial for the people killed by militants in the last 26 years across J&K. Visiting the village under tight security cover, Vinod Pandit also mentioned that names of all the victims, in both Jammu and Kashmir, will be engraved on it.

State government proposed an increased relief amount for the construction of the houses in the valley. The amount is proposed to be increased from 7.5 lakhs to 20 lakhs, the Centre is yet to give a nod to this proposal.

The visiting Pandits said they were prepared to return home, but want political, social and economic safeguards. The plight of the Kashmiri pandits is rarely discussed in the mainstream media of the country. Lakhs of people had to live like a refugee in their own country and it is a complete failure from the then Indian government and all those came in power later.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah recently made a statement, claiming no further progress has been made for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, even after a year.

Abdullah further stated the current government’s inefficiency by paying only lip service and nothing. He tweeted a series of statement on this issue. On the other hand, his father and senior leader Farokh Abdullah made a controversial statement and said that no one will Kashmir Pandit to return.

Anupam Kher, a Kashmiri Pandit himself, has always been seen fighting for the rights of the Pandits and discussing the issue gravely on various platforms. He also tweeted about the matter:

There were protests from Panun Kashmir and All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference outside Raj Bhavan to demand a judicial probe into the killing of Pandits in the Valley. (Inputs from Agencies) (picture courtesy: oneindia.com)

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Indian Cinema Holds a Special Place in The Heart of Anupam Kher

Like Anupam always says, "Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)", seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him

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Anupam Kher
Indian cinema will always remain important for me: Anupam Kher. Flickr

From working in Indian films for over three decades to achieving global fame with several international projects, veteran actor Anupam Kher, who is currently in the US shooting for his new American series “New Amsterdam”, says he can never overlook Indian cinema for foreign projects.

“It feels good when I get recognition for my international movies and shows, but for me, my own (Indian) cinema is very much important. When I am in some foreign country, I always introduce myself as, ‘I am an international actor from India’.

“Being an Indian actor, I cannot overlook our cinema. And I feel there is no dearth of South Asian actors in world cinema because it completely depends upon the person whether he/she wants to act in international projects or not. Our Indian cinema is self-sufficient in its own way,” Anupam Kher told IANS over phone from New York.

After playing pivotol roles in Oscar-nominated Hollywood movies like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Big Sick”, the 63-year-old is currently working in medical drama “New Amsterdam”.

According to Anupam, he has “reinvented” himself by essaying the role of Vijay Kapoor in the show.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher, flickr

“Through ‘New Amsterdam’, one of the main things I have learnt is the relationship between doctors and patients. For this show, we are shooting in a real hospital, so I often get a chance to meet patients and doctors. Interacting with the patients made me understand the real value of relations and emotions.

“Now I know what families go through if their loved ones are battling with some illness. I am evolving as a person with this project.”

As the show is already on air and is garnering great response from viewers, Anupam Kher considers this project a “huge achievement”.

Like Anupam Kher always says, “Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)”, seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him.

Be it his negative role in “Dushmani” or his comic avatar in “Haseena Maan Jayegi”, the versatile actor, who has been entertaining people with his performances for over 30 years. He has also been feted with civilian honours like the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher (Wikimedia Common)

“A young boy from Shimla who dreamt of becoming an actor, successfully paved a path in Bollywood and is now working in Hollywood. What else could I have asked for? I feel blessed that god has always been kind to me. This project has given me a different kind of achievement. I always wanted to do something different and now I have reinvented and explored my new side with ‘New Amsterdam’,” he added.

Apart from his international projects, Anupam Kher is also preparing for his next Hindi film “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a biopic based on the life of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Anupam Kher, who plays Manmohan Singh in the film, underwent transformation to get into the role. He says it is one of the most challenging roles he has ever done.

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The actor said: “It took 4-5 months to make my body language similar to Manmohanji and a complete month for having control over my voice. It was not like ‘Go inside (the make-up room) and come out (dressed) as Manmohan Singh’. The character demanded huge hard work and I tried my best to play the role with sincerity and conviction.

“Portraying Dr Manmohan Singh’s life on-screen was like a scientist working on his/her discoveries and theories because it is not easy to represent someone who is known by the world. Manmohan Singh is a politician and leader of this generation. People know everything about him. I hope I have done justice to his character.” (IANS)