The displaced Kashmiri Pandits on Thursday observed martyrs’ day and dedicated a memorial here to hundreds of their community leaders and members killed by Pakistani raiders and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. The memorial was set up on the banks of the Ranbir canal, a tributary of the river Chanderbagga popularly known as river Chinab.
The memorial was inaugurated by Swami Kumar G and BJP MLC G L Raina who were flanked by British leader Lakshmi Kaul and former Jammu Municipal Corporation Commissioner Kiran Watal at a function here.
“We have setup a martyr memorial at banks of Ranbir canal as a tribute to martyrs of Kashmiri Pandits (KP) since 1947. It is a tribute to our community members including leaders, academicians, judges, journalists, teachers, poets and bureaucrats killed by terrorists and Pakistan raiders since 1947”, Atharot organisation Chief Kanwal Peshin said.
Meanwhile in Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandits observed the “martyrs’ day” in Verinag in the South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. They paid tributes to those killed in violence in the state. A large gathering shouted slogans and paid floral tributes to Kashmiri Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits killed in the Valley.
Since 1990, Kashmiri Pandits all across the globe have been observing this day to pay homage to all those who laid down their lives while battling terrorist in Kashmir.
“It is for the first time that KPs have observed Balidan divas in Kashmir. We paid tributes to martyrs of the community at Verinag spring in Anantnag in South Kashmir”, said Vinood Pandita who led All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) activists.
“We have paid tributes to KP members killed by terrorists, Pakistan raiders and anti-community violence since 1931”, Pandita said.
It was on this day 28 years ago when Pandit Tika Lal Tiploo, a fearless leader of Kasmiri Pandits fell to the assassins’ bullets in the streets of Kashmir and the day has acquired a reverential status since then, he added.
All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) organised a programme in Jammu and paid tributes to martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the country since militancy started in the State particularly in Kashmir.
Rich tributes where paid to martyrs especially two veteran pandit leaders – Tika Lal Taploo and Prem Nath Bhat.
ASKPC president Ravinder Raina said that September 14th was dedicated to the memory of Kashmiri Pandit martyrs.
“It was on this day that the first Kashmiri Pandit Tika Lal Taploo fell to the assassin’s bullet after the terrorists had declared psychological war on the minority Hindu population in Kashmir Valley,” he said.
Many innocent lives were lost to terrorist violence after that day and within a few months the entire Hindu population left the Valley, he said.
“How can this day of significance in the history of Kashmiri Pandits be forgotten? Let this year’s Balidan Divas be the reminder of our resolve to keep our culture and traditions alive, wherever we may live,” Rina said.
“Let us pay our homage to our martyrs and show solidarity for our motherland (Maej Kasheer). We should organise prayer services at local Temples also,” he added.
The observance of the September 14 as the Martyrs’ Day reminds the community of the historical facts regarding its ethnic cleansing.
Chairman Kashmiri Pandit Joint Action Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said that the issues related to the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the pandit community were very sensitive and emotional.
“We have demanded the setting up of a Special Crimes Tribunal that would investigate all those cases of murder, mayhem and persecution of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir and also fix responsibility on the perpetrators of such crimes against humanity and bring them to justice,” Chrungoo said.
The issue related to the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits was also brought before Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
It was made clear that Kashmiri Pandits can only be resettled in Kashmir by addressing their geo political aspirations as envisaged in the historical Margdarshan Resolution in the form of a separate homeland with free flow of the Indian Constitution and without Art 370 and 35-A, Chrungoo said.