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No Right to Vote for Kashmiri Pandits? Voting Difficulties to be discussed with Election Commission of India

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Kashmiri Hindu Pandits
Kashmiri Pandits are not returning to their jobs. Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 11, 2017: A BJP delegation on Thursday apprised the Election Commission of the deletion of names of Kashmiri Pandits from the electoral roles and the cumbersome process they had to go through in exercising their right to vote.

The delegation, under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Vikas Manch (JKVM), led by Union Ministers Jitendra Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also apprised the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi about the numerous difficulties faced by the community in exercising their right to vote in Jammu and Kashmir.

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“The M-form is a procedure under which migrant Kashmir Pandits have to repeatedly submit documents to prove that they were genuine displaced people from the Kashmir valley and intend to vote. As a result of this complicated process the number of displaced voters decreased constantly,” a statement said.

The JKVM said that the number has reached a dismal number of few thousand from around 200,000 prior to displacement.

“The decrease was progressive with only 147,000 voters left on voter list in 1996 that went further down to 117,000 in 2002 and even more disappearing from the voter list, down to 71,000 in 2008. It seems the community is being disfranchised under a design.”

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“From around 170,000 before 1989 our number is shown as 72,793 in 2008. It is showcased as an increase from 26,679 in 2002. All this is due to complicated procedure of voting that is open to manipulation by vested interests.” the statement said.

The delegation demanded a sustained campaign should be undertaken by the Commission to ensure 100 per cent registration of eligible voters.

It also demanded that the voting booths for the community should be increased to make it possible for the voters to reach there conveniently.

The delgation demanded that electoral rolls of Kashmir valley are made available to the community in English or Devnagri.

“The Commission assured that necessary steps will be taken to remove the hurdles. The CEC also promised to deploy a senior officer of Deputy Election Commissioner’s rank to oversee and work out the modalities,” the delegation said. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Kashmiri Pandits not Willing to Return to their Jobs in Kashmir Valley

The ongoing protests by Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, are threatening mass resignations.

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Kashmiri Hindu Pandits
Kashmiri Pandits are not returning to their jobs. Wikimedia
  • The situation since last year is a clear indicator of rising threat in Kashmir as people are coming on the roads and pelting stones
  • After the government asked them to rejoin their duties in Kashmir valley, they are threatening mass resignations
  • Most of the Kashmiri Pandit employees left the valley last year only and now, 500 of them are refusing to return

Jammu, August 10, 2017: There were many Kashmiri Pandit employees who left the Kashmir valley last year after witnessing continual unrest following the encounter of terrorist Burhan Wani.

One of the residents, Sonia Bhat, who is a government teacher by profession, left the Kashmir valley last year (days after Burhan Wani got killed) and came to Jammu. She is a Kashmiri Pandit who returned to the Kashmir valley around seven years back, before which she migrated from the valley in the early 90s. Her reason for return was the government job she got, said that the cause of worry is the security concerns, apart from many problems they have to face on a day to day basis.

She said that the situation since last year is a clear indicator of rising threat in Kashmir as people are coming on the roads and pelting stones.  She feels that there is not a safe atmosphere to live in Kashmir.

ALSO READ:  Kashmiri Pandits Demand The Status of “Internally Displaced People”

Kashmiri Pandits have gathered in large numbers and are protesting in Jammu. After the government asked them to rejoin their duties in Kashmir valley, they are threatening mass resignations. Under the provision of Prime Minister’s special package for settling Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir- the government had given around 3,000 jobs to them in the valley.  But, most of the Kashmiri Pandit employees had no option but to leave the valley last year due to unrest and now, 500 of them are not willing to come back.

According to the NDTV report, RK Bhat, President Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj said, “The ongoing proxy war in Kashmir is against India and nationalist forces, why are you forcing us to go back to Kashmir in such an atmosphere?”

The government assures that the Pandit employees can be moved to safe locations within the valley and things will be done to ensure their safety. But, they can’t give in to the demands of transferring them out of the valley. Thus, the government has given a 15-day ultimatum to Pandit employees to return to their duties.

Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister said, “There is no way that their jobs can continue while they remain outside Kashmir, they will have to come back, I do sympathize with them if they have any concern we will address it. We will keep them in and around Srinagar.”

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Kashmiri Pandits Demand The Status of “Internally Displaced People”

Kashmiri Pandits want to ensure the preservation of their culture in the valley, as per the memorandum

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Kashmiri Pandits Community
Kashmiri Hindu Foundation head, Deepak Ganju spoke in the Indian community event held in honour of PM Modi. VOA
  • The Kashmiri Hindu Foundation has passed a memorandum concerning the community of Kashmiri Pandits 
  • The Foundation has demanded that the Kashmiri Pandits be given the status of “internally displaced people”
  • The memorandum states several demands by the community to ensure preservation of their culture

Washington, June 25, 2017: The Kashmiri Hindu Foundation has passed a memorandum urging PM Modi to recognise Kashmiri Pandits as internally displaced people. They also wanted the government to ensure that the illegal occupants in the area be removed. The foundation also wanted an assurance that their property (left behind by them) will be protected.

In the memorandum submitted, the Foundation has said, “If Kashmiri Hindus lose their temples, houses and property, their ethnic cleansing will become permanent,”
The memorandum further stated,”Kashmiri Hindus should be recognised as internally displaced people and a declaration should be made to this effect. Implement a plan to ensure that property left behind by the refugees is preserved and protected and illegal occupants removed.”

ALSO READ: Dream of developed India will be fulfilled: PM Narendra Modi tells Indian diaspora

The foundation also wanted to ensure that the grievances of those Kashmiri Hindus will also be addressed who have signed the contract for the sale of property under any duress.

Deepak Ganju, the head of the foundation said, “Our places of worship have been burnt, vandalised and damaged. We strongly urge the government of India and the state government that our temples and cultural institutions in the Valley be secured, preserved and protected,”
Florida-based Deepak was here to attend the community event being held in the honour of PM Modi. She said that about 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to leave Valley en-masse.

Ganju said, “About 1,200 killed and it goes on with just a few thousand remaining in the Valley.”

“Financial and state support for our socio-cultural- religious organisations, that we have managed to run even in our exile, is required urgently. State recognition should be given to Kashmiri Pandit writers, artists and social activists and grants should be provided for them to further their work. Centres need to be built for the preservation of thousands of years of our history, culture, tradition and works of art.”, the foundation demanded in the memorandum.

prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram. Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

One response to “Kashmiri Pandits Demand The Status of “Internally Displaced People””

  1. This is a wake up call for Mr. Modi to address the problems of left over Kashmiri Pandits living as invisible refugees in their country. If the present government, like the previous govts.who ignored to address their little problems for last 27 long years, Nobody on this earth will address their problem. The Present govt. has forgotten their pre-poll promises like removal of 370,Rehabilation of invisible refugees Kashmiri Pandits. But at least, the Government can find ways and means for their survival till they are moved to Kashmir.

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