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Kashmir Pandits observe "holocaust day"

by Faisul Yaseen

Jammu
Jan 19, 2007:

Displaced Hindus in Indian administered Kashmir known as Kashmiri Pandits, observed what they call 'holocasut day' in Jammu today.

In 1990 majority of Kashmiri Pandits fled from their homes in the Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley to settle in the region's Hindu dominated winter capital Jammu, fearing for their lives after the outbreak of an anti-india armed rebellion in 1989.

"It was on this day way back in January 19, 1990 when the mosques across Kashmir echoed asking Pandits to leave the valley or face execution," said Ajay Chrungoo President of one of the factions of Panun Kashmir, a body of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

Kashmir Pandits says, it was Jan 19 1990, when they deicded to flee the Valley because of 'hostile circumstances'. They prefer to observe the anniversary every year calling it the 'holocaust day'.

Chrungoo's faction organised a public meeting at Anand Nagar Bohri today, and said the community had entered 18th year of their displacement from Kashmir valley.

Chrungoo said that his party wanted to remind the nation of 'continued neglect at the hands of successive governments in state as well in New Delhi'.

When Pandits left the valley, militants had killed more than 150 members of their community, some for having affiliations with national parties, some on allegations of being informers of Indian intelligence agencies.

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

The Kashmiri Pandits says that more than the threat of militants it was the "criminal silence" exhibited by their Muslim neighbours which let them down.

On the contrary, Kashmiri Muslims accuse Pandits of leaving them in lurch 'to face the music of Indian armed forces while they themselves took refuge in safer havens like Jammu and New Delhi.'

Kashmiri separatist outfits like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front balme then Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, Jag Mohan for dispalcement of the community.

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

Meanwhile, All State Kashmiri Pandit Confernece (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 A N Vaishnavi and H L Chatta was organised at Geeta Bhawan in Jammu.

Another displaced Kashmiri Pandit organisation Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch held a protest demonstration at the Jammu's historic Dogra Chowk. The party activists rued over the alleged 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.

The moderate faction of 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.

The Holocaust

Impressed by the settlement of Jews in Israel, who were driven off by the 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 organized 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).

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