New Delhi– The anti-CAA protests have inspired Kashmiri Hindus, who are victims of Islamic extremism, to demand their rights on their homeland in the Kashmir valley. For the first time in 30 years, members of the global Kashmiri Hindu community, known as Kashmiri Pandits, rose as one on January 19, to remind the world of the atrocities they have suffered.
Sunday saw Kashmiri Pandits, and their sympathisers, gather in large numbers at several places in different countries, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their ‘Exodus Day’. It was on this day in 1990 that Kashmiri Hindus, better known as Kashmiri Pandits, fled the valley overnight to escape the threats from Islamic extremists.
The Kashmiri Pandit Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), along with its alliance partner associations, organized seminars, rallies, symposiums, and prayers in India, USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
In US, Indian Americans for Kashmir (IAKF) and GKPD joined hands to organise an event to recognize the resilience and noble spirit of the survivors of genocide. Self-confessed India-lover and founder of Voice for India, Renee Lynn, expressed happiness over the passing of Citizenship Amendment Act by the Modi government.
Noted film actor Anupam Kher also spoke to the gathering and provided a detailed account of the horror that Kashmiri pandit community had to face because of their faith.
In Australia collective prayers were held to commemorate the genocide and ethnic cleansing. Events were organised at Brisbane, Perth and Sydney by KAshmiri Pandit organisations such as the Kashmiri Pandits Australia (KPA) and KPCSWA.
In New Zealand, a seminar was organised by the local Kashmiri Pandit to commemorate 30 years of exile along with discussions on the way forward. Political analysts Major Gaurav Vaidya and Pushpendra Kulshreshta participated in the proceedings via Skype.
In Canada a symposium was held in Toronto on ‘Global terrorism and its impact on social, cultural and economic wellbeing of minorities’ focusing on the return of indigenous Kashmiris to the land of their ancestors and restoration of their political rights. The event was organized by Indo Canadian Kashmir Forum (ICKF) and the speaker panelists were Rajiv Malhotra, Tahir Aslam Gora, Tom Quiggin, Vidhya Bushan Dhar.
In India, at Jagati, the largest refugee camp, Jammu Helpline Humanity, in collaboration with GKPD, organized a symposium and painting competition the topic of which was ‘Ethnic cleansing and the way forward’. A protest demonstration was organized in front of Raj Bhawan by all state Kashmir Pandit conference.
In Delhi a silent sit-in was organized jointly by Jammu Kashmir Vichaar Manch (JKVM), Roots in Kashmir (RIK), Panun Kashmir (PK) and Kashmiri Samiti Delhi (KSD).
In Mumbai, Kashmiri Pandits Association, Mumbai organized a seminar ‘No more exodus’ where eminent speakers such as Padamshree recipient, Dr. Kashi Nath Pandita, and Dr Rattan Sharda, a columnist and author, addressed a strong community gathering in Mumbai.
In Jaipur, the Kashmiri Pandit Association of Jaipur organized a candle march.
Coming in the backdrop of the anti-CAA protests which call for protection of minorities, the resolve of the Hindu minority in Kashmir is to raise their voice echoed strongly on their ‘Exodus Day’.