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Exodus Day: Kashmiri Pandits commemorate the unfortunate event

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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