National

Kashmiri Pandits Suffer 29 Years Of Injustice: All You Need To Know About The Exodus

PRERNA YADAV | 1
3211
| January 19 , 2019 , 13:12 IST

Nearly three decades ago, on January 19, 1990, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits took place, during which most of the Pandit families were forced to leave Kashmir valley due the to the outbreak of terrorism.

On that day, mosques issued declarations that the Kashmiri Pandits were Kafirs and that the males had to leave Kashmir, convert to Islam or be killed. Those who chose to do the former were told to leave their women behind.

The Kashmiri Muslims were instructed to identify Pandit homes so they could be systematically targeted for conversion or killing. Even 29 years later, Kashmiri Pandits shiver remembering the night that forced them into exodus.

This period was the most brutal portion of their entire sufferings since their houses were marked for the killings, this period saw one of the biggest exoduses in the entire history of India. 24,202 families of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homeland.

Many of the refugee Kashmiri Pandits have been living in abject conditions in refugee camps of Jammu. The government has reported on the terrorist threats to Pandits still living in the Kashmir region.

Veteran actor Anupam Kher shared a heartfelt video that clearly depicts the pain and harsh reality of the Exodus.

Rahul Pandita in his book, Our Moon Has Blood Clots, gave a timeline of the events that brought about the exodus.

September 1989

Pandit political activist, Tika Lal Taploo is shot dead by armed men outside his residence.

January 1990

Massive crowds assemble in mosques across the valley, shouting anti-India, anti-pandit slogans. The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits begins. In the next few months, hundreds of innocent Pandits are tortured, killed and raped. By the year-end, about 350,000 Pandits have escaped from the Valley and taken refuge in Jammy and elsewhere. Only a handful of them stays back.

March 1997

Terrorists drag out seven Kashmiri Pandits from their houses in Sangrampora village and gun them down.

January 1998

23 Kashmiri Pandits, including women and children, shot in cold blood in Wandhama Village.

March 2003

24 Kashmiri Pandits, including infants, brutally shot dead in Nadimarg Village.

2012

Thousands of Pandits still languish in refugee settlements of 8 x 8. After more than two decades, the Kashmiri Pandit community has still not been able to return to their ancestral land. They are dispersed all over from Jammu to Johannesburg."

Years later, the Kashmiri Pandits living as refugees for generations are still waiting to go back to their homes, while successive governments failed to ensure their right to return.