KPs observe ‘Martyrs Day’, attack Govt
14 September 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: A series of programmes were organised here today by Kashmiri Pandits to commemorate the ‘Martyrs Day’, remembering the community members who fell victim to terrorism in their home state during the last 15 years. Coinciding with the killing of first Kashmiri Pandit Tika Lal Taploo by terrorists on this day in 1989, various organisations of the community staged demonstrations at various places, including the memorial of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, to highlight their plight and sufferings. The successive State and Central Governments came in for attack at these demonstrations, with the Pandit leaders accusing them of ignoring the plight of the community and demanding their involvement in any process concerning Jammu and Kashmir. 'The Government should institute an inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge to probe into the circumstances under which the entire community was forced to leave the valley to fix responsibility for it and punish the guilty,' Panun Kashmir leader Shakti Bhan said addressing the participants of the protest. Emphasising that the community was on the 'threshold of extinction', she said the Parliament should intervene in the matter 'which has no parallel in the contemporary history'. 'Nobody is concerned about the fate of Kashmiri Pandit community which is on the verge of extinction,' M K Kaw, president of All India Kashmiri Samaj, said criticising political parties for raising hue and cry over increase in population of various sections. Quoting figures from the National Human Rights Commission, he said population of the community showed a decline from 15 per cent in 1941 to 0.1 per cent in 1991. He maintained that contradictory to the figures shown in the 2001 census, only about 7000 Kashmiri Pandits live in the valley. Referring to the ongoing dialogue process with Hurriyat, Kaw demanded representation of his community in the process. He described shelving of additional Devanagri script for Kashmiri language as a 'surrender' and alleged the move was part of a conspiracy to deprive the Kashmiri Pandits from its roots.