Kashmiri Pandits Demand Own Homeland
17 June 2005
The Indian Express
Mumbai: Kashmiri Samiti said the encounter where two militants were killed near the Khir Bhawani temple was a grim reminder of the tenuousness of Kashmir situation and pointed to the growing need for Kashmiri Pandits to have their own homeland.The fact that a large number of Kashmiri pundits had gathered at the annual mela at Khir Bhawani, could not be overlooked, Samiti president Sunil Shakdher said in a release. 'While there is some satisfaction that reportedly no pilgrim to the mela has been directly affected but the fact remains that the incident has negated all the assurances offered by the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed,' he said. 'The state government's oft-repeated obsession of taking back a few migrant families to some exclusive settlement needs to be seen in this background. Even on earlier occasions when such return of migrants was announced, Pandits living in the Valley were subjected to barbarism like at Sangrama, Wandhama and Nadinarg', Shakdher said. 'The Kashmiri Pandit community has serious doubts about the genuineness of such programmes and feel that all these were basically tuned to the subtle move to keep the Kashmiri Pandits in perpetual exile', he said adding 'having exhausted all avenues, the Pandits have now been forced to demand their own homeland. A movement to demand their own homeland would be launched on September 14, where thousands of Pandits were expected to converge at Tikalal Taploo House in Haba Kadal. Meanwhile, filmmaker Ashok Pandit has urged the film fraternity and other concerned individuals to extend their support to the movement. 'We believe the time has come when Pandits will have to assert their right'.