Kashmiri Pandits recall horrors of ‘Exodus Day’Updated: Jan 19, 2020 21:58 IST
Kashmiri Pandits living in Lucknow recalled the horrors of the community’s exodus from the Kashmir Valley 30 years ago, on Sunday, and said they were determined to return to their homeland.
Ravi Kachroo, who was among those who fled the Valley three decades ago, said that January 19 was observed as the ‘Exodus Day’ or the ‘Martyrdom Day’ of the Kashmiri Pandits. “We had to leave our homes, our land, after being threatened by terrorists. The terrorists used loudspeakers to ask all non-Muslims to leave Kashmir. We were left with no choice but to run for our lives,” he said.
Raising slogans of ‘Hum Wapas Ayenge’ (we will return), the Pandits said they were happy that the movement for their return to the Valley had gathered steam.
“There was no time to think about where we would go or what we would do. Registering ourselves as refugees in our own land was the most painful part,” Kachroo said.
Another participant at the gathering said that the community just wanted to return to their native land. “We have suffered a lot and want the government to facilitate our return,” said Leena Razdan.
“They (terrorists) shot my uncle dead in 1989. After that my father took us to Jammu from Anantnag but we faced discrimination even there. I had to leave schooling midway and live like a refugee in my own country,” she said.
Anil Razdan, who has been living in Lucknow since 1990, said, “We had to leave our house in Srinagar suddenly one scary night. However, the situation is much better now. I came across the campaign ‘Hum Ghar Ayenge’. I think that today, we are more confident in saying these lines.”