NEW DELHI: Some members of the Kashmiri Pandit community gathered at the Raj Ghat here Saturday to mark the 29th anniversary of their forced exile from Kashmir and demanded creation of a separate township in the valley for them.
They took an oath to return to Kashmir Valley and appealed to the government to fulfil its duty by facilitating their return.
They commemorated Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day, the organisers said in a statement.
On this day in 1990 hundreds of thousands of protesters, along with armed militants, occupied streets of Kashmir shouting slogans against the minority community which eventually led to their exodus from the valley.
"Many Kashmiri Pandits were killed, raped and tortured before and after 19 January, 1990 in a series of targeted killings of minority Pandits," it said.
Remembering the night, Mona Razdan, one of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, said that the night was "possibly the longest night of our lives".
The loss of Kashmiri Pandits - one of the most hardworking and talented people - is a huge loss for us. Don't want to engage in rhetoric, but I really hope that we can correct course at some point in future. #WeMissYou— Shehla Rashid شہلا رشید (@Shehla_Rashid) January 19, 2019
"Mobs from all over the valley had occupied every single road in Kashmir. They shouted slogans against Pandits asking us to either join them or leave the valley," she said.
Regretting the current state of the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community, Vivek Raina, a young student, said, "More than 50,000 of our people perished in the inhabitable camps. They fell to snake and scorpion bites. There still is a refugee camp in Jammu that harbours more than 25,000 people and is no better than a concentration camp."
Abhishek Thathoo, a young school student, said, "It is so painful that we are almost like this country's stepsons despite the fact that we were the only people who upheld the values of Indian civilisation in Kashmir. We lost everything and got no justice. Don't I have the right to live in my home."