HOMELESS PANDITS

Published in The Asian Age, 18th June, 2005

Sir,
I have been going through your esteemed newspaper very attentively and certain questions have been cropping up in my mind. When terrorism erupted in the Kashmir valley, at the very outset the terrorists made us, the Pandits, their victims. The community was forced to leave the valley as refugees and they are still refugees in about 15 camps in different parts of the country. A professor known for writing on history and society wrote a letter to the militant leadership in late 1989 asking them to explain their policy and attitude towards the religious minority since they claimed they were fighting a “freedom struggle”. Next day they replied to his letter in a popular local daily by simply saying that all Kashmiri Pandits should join them in their armed struggle against India as otherwise their life and property would not be safe. After this open threat, my family left Kashmir, in the dead of night. It has over 15 years that I like, the other Pandits, am thrown on the roadside, without the place of my own. We never went back to Kashmir. They will not accept us. The Indian government, unfortunately, was not very caring. It does not want to displease the majority population of Kashmir and prefers that we do not return to our homeland. After our departure from Kashmir, the locals first looted our homes, and then set them on fire. And now we are busy appreciating Jinnah, busy talking about Yasin Malik .But we are not ready to recognize the blood soaked history of the Kashmiri Pandits.

Aditya Rangroo
Kandivli, Mumbai

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