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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Kashmiri Pandits share the pain of Shopian tragedy

Arjun Sharma and Sonika Raina, Hindustan Times  Jammu, August 04, 2009
First Published: 00:35 IST(4/8/2009) | Last Updated: 00:40 IST(4/8/2009)

Although the blow of militancy forced them to migrate from their homeland and settle in various parts of country, the
Kashmiri Pandit community still feel the pain that the Muslims of Kashmir valley are going through. To prove this a delegation of 100 Kashmiri Pandits visited Shopian to pay their condolence to the families of Neelofar and Asiya, who were allegedly raped and killed on May 29.

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The members of the community that was forced by the religious zealots in the year 1989 to move out of their homeland also staged a sit in outside Jamia Mashij to manifest their anger against the cumbersome proceedings on the case, which rocked the Kashmir valley by protests demonstrations a month ago.

However, the members of the delegation who belonged to Shopian were pained to see a bus stand at the place where they spent half of their life.

“These 20 years have changed everything here. It was very painful to see a bus stand where I used to play during my childhood. My ancestral home and is now a bus stand. I feel like eliminated from the valley. It is painful but the killing of two girls hurts even more” said Ashok Saraf, who is a government teacher and lived at the Saraf colony, Shopian. At present he put up at Muthi.

Not only these Kashmiri pandits who visited Shopian but even those who saw the news of rape and murder of the two girls on television channels are concerned about the incident.

Shama Sathu, a private school teacher who belongs to Shopian said, “It was really socking when I came to know about the rape and murder of the two Kashmiri women. Even after 19 years of militancy in the valley the situation is going nowhere. Women are still unsafe there”.

However the member of delegation have assured that they would stand in the fight for justice with the families of the victims.

Brijnath Sharma, a retired teacher who lives in Purkhu camp in Jammu said, “Those girls were like our own daughters. We have assured the families of the two girls that the pandit community is with them”.

“Won't we fight if it had happened to our own daughter?” questioned Brijnath.

Allegations were also leveled by the opposition against the government for not looking into the matter properly as they accused the security forces to be involved into the killing of two girls who were coming back from an apple orchid when they were kidnapped and later killed after being raped.


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