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Kashmiri Pandits observe "Holocaust Day"

One of the factions of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits 'Panun Kashmir' organised a public meeting at Anand Nagar Bohri, reports Faisul Yaseen.
None | By Faisul Yaseen, Jammu
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2007 09:01 PM IST

Displaced Kashmiri Pandits who fled from Kashmir valley to the state's winter capital Jammu in early nineties soon after the outbreak of terrorism in Kashmir observed today as their 17th "holocaust day".

One of the factions of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits 'Panun Kashmir' organised a public meeting at Anand Nagar Bohri where the party president Ajay Chrungoo said that today marked the entry of the Kashmiri Pandit community into the 18th year of their displacement from Kashmir valley.

"It was on this day way back on January 19, 1990 when the mosques across Kashmir echoed asking Pandits to leave the valley or face execution," he alleged.

Chrungoo said that his party was also protesting to remind the nation of their continued neglect at the hand of successive governments in the state as well as at the hands of New Delhi.

Impressed by the settlement of Jews in Israel, who were driven off by Germany's Nazi government after slaughtering millions of them, Kashmiri Pandits every year observe January 19 as the "holocaust day", the day named after the 'Holocaust', which is applied to the genocide of minority groups of Europe and North Africa during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 8, 1938 and November 9, 1938 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program, leading to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organised effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The Jews of Europe were the most numerous of the victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" or "the cleaning" (die Reinigung).

It was on this day 17-years back that the Kashmiri Pandits decided to flee from the valley after finding themselves at the receiving end of the barrel of terrorists and Islamic extremism.

When Pandits left the valley, terrorists had already killed around 100 of their community members, some for having affiliations with national parties, some on allegations of being informers of Indian intelligence agencies and some just for nothing.

Feeling at the receiving end of the hostilities, the Kashmiri Pandit community, which for years lived next to Kashmiri Muslims in the valley suddenly felt unsafe.

The Kashmiri Pandits say that more than the threat of terrorists it was the "criminal silence" exhibited by their Muslim neighbours which let them down. On the contrary, the Muslims allege them of leaving them in the lurch to face the music of bullets while they themselves took refuge in safer havens like Jammu
and New Delhi.

The other faction of Panun Kashmir led by convenor Agnishekhar and the
party's political affairs chairman KL Chowdhury organised a demonstration and a sit in at the Muthi Ghat at the outskirts of Jammu city.

Meanwhile, All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) paid homage to the Kashmiri Pandits who were killed before the community decided to leave behind their homes and hearths.

A programme of the party attended by prominent party leaders AN Vaishnavi and HL Chatta was organised at Geeta Bhawan in Jammu.

Another displaced Kashmiri Pandit organisation Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch held a protest demonstration at Jammu's historic Dogra Chowk. The party activists rued over the attitude of New Delhi in promoting separatists and suppressing the nationalists. The party also expressed concern over the new solutions coming up for the resolution of the long-standing dispute of Kashmir like self-rule, regional
federalism, United States of Kashmir and likes.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of many separatist organisations in the state is currently in Pakistan to discuss the new developments on Kashmir. The conglomerate is seeking a self-rule for the state for the resolution of the vexed Kashmir issue, the decision strongly opposed by the Kashmiri Pandits.

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