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The valley of no return: Kashmiri Pandits

The exiled and forgotten minority of India
Many in the country are unaware of how many times Kashmiri Pandits had to flee from their homes in the Kashmir Valley. In fact, Kashmiri Pandits have been persecuted for more than 7 centuries in the past, by the Kashmiri Muslims. The timeline in this video gives a brief description about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from 14th century onwards.

The facts regarding the Kashmiri Pandits genocide have been abstracted from an extensively published, circulated and acknowledged article, 'Wailing Kashmir - Seven migrations of Kashmiri Pandits', by Dr. Satish Ganjoo and is widely available in the public domain.

DNL reporter, Sukanya Bhan went to Jagiti, a migrant colony, quartered on the outskirts of Jammu where numerous Kashmiri Hindu families were offered refuge after their mass migration from the valley in the last decade of the 20th century. Then, under the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh, they were offered resettlement at Jagiti in 2006-07. From the outside, Jagiti looks like just any other colony but a glimpse into their quarters reveal the dingy and unhygienic living conditions that miss even the basic amenities like drinking water or a regular source of rations.

The families in this tiny colony were so distraught with both the state and central governments that people have been driven to state on record: "ab yahan pe bhi gun chalegi, tabhi humara survival hai, otherwise we are no more." When the BJP came to power in 2014, many Kashmiri Hindus thought that they will be able to return back to their motherland in what was then called, 'Ghar Wapasi'.

But the issue has become a political football. Many in the community say that Modi, like others in the past, has done nothing less than politicize their issue. Ruling governments and political parties have only squandered the hopes of this hapless community, and even scholars from amongst the community realize how this might happen again before the nation goes to polls in 2019. Kashmiri Pandits continue to live in exile even after seven centuries since their first exodus. These refugees in their own country hope to return to their homeland in Kashmir where their homes are now buried under years of a forgotten past.


Sukanya Bhan

Sukanya Bhan

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