Kashmiri Pandits have “pledged” to launch a “sustained struggle” in Jammu and Kashmir for the restoration of their “lost identity and rights”, an outfit representing the community said.
Members of the community had to flee the Kashmir Valley in the wake of the spread of terrorism in 1989-90.
The pledge was taken at a convention titled “Future of next generation of Kashmiri Pandits” in Jammu.
“The community’s leaders have pledged to launch a sustained struggle for the restoration of the lost identity of the community and its political, social, economic and cultural rights in the state,” the organiser’s of the convention Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) said in a statement.
The participants of the convention have asked the government and various political parties, both national and regional, to make their stand clear on the political future of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, it said.
“Political parties, before contesting elections, should categorically mention in their election manifestos which political space they would allow to the displaced community if they come to power,” the statement said.
To seek political empowerment and reservation for the community in the state legislature and Parliament, the YAIKS nominated coordinators for each of the 46 assembly segments in all the 10 districts of Kashmir.
The coordinators were administered an “oath” that they will work with full zeal and dedication for the betterment of the community, it said.
The convention urged the Election Commission to ensure that every displaced Kashmiri Pandit is included in voter lists of the assembly segment, to which he or she originally belonged, the statement said.
“The voter lists, thus prepared, should be displayed at all offices of migrant zonal officers and on government websites,” the statement said, urging the EC to abolish M-Form exercise for migrant voters on a plea that the cumbersome process acts as a deterrent for casting vote by members of the community.
YAIKS’ chief R K Bhat said displaced Kashmiri Pandits would never forgo their claim over Kashmir, as the community is an inalienable component of the civil society of the Valley.