3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference concludes
Pandits want nothing short of Homeland
King C Bharati
Jammu, April 12: The two-day 3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference (WKPC) today concluded with a spate of resolutions for the future strategy of the community and stressed that the community would settle for nothing short of their own Homeland within Kashmir Valley with a Union Territory status.
The unanimity among the speakers was focused on the demand of Homeland while many other suggestions came to fore for the future course of action to fight the apathy of the central and state government towards the community which has been facing extinction in their 19th year of forced exile.
The concluding day was devoted mainly to women and youth of the community to discuss the challenges faced by these sections in exile and set agenda for the future with speakers debating on the topics: KP Women: Challenges in exile and KP Youth in Exile: Challenges galore.
While women were seen more aggressive today with a speaker asking the community not to stick to two child norm because of dwindling KP population while youth stressed for more pragmatic and modern approach to save the culture and the future of the young generation.
The twin sessions were fully surcharged with many speakers spitting fire reminding the audience that KPs were still a force to reckon with and infusing new energy to the restless Pandits who find themselves at the cross roads of the future.
The short documentaries depicting the plight of KPs in exile and their massacres in Valley brought tears to the audience while the delegation of Sikhs from Batote and Anandpur Sahib called for aggressive approach to fight the discrimination.
Ashok Khajuria, state president of the BJP while assuring whole hearted support of Jammuites to KPs thanked them for their wholehearted support during Amarnath agitation and asked them to fight all kinds’ discrimination unitedly.
Khajuria while extending full support to Homeland assured to take-up KPs problems in Assembly.
He said that Hindus would have to wake up as in India secularism means anything anti-Hindu which has to be fought out valiantly by all the Hindus together.
It was Dr Shailja Bhardwaj who set the stage on fire with her fiery speech recharging the entire Zorawar complex prompting S Mehar Singh from Anadpur Sahib to come on stage to present a Shawl to her.
S Mehar Singh thundered on stage asking KPs to produce such fiery daughters if they want to exist in this kind of discriminatory atmosphere.
S Mehar Singh also presented a Saropa to Dr Agnishekhar on the occasion as a symbol of support to the community.
Earlier Dr Phoola Kaul termed Jawahar Lal Nehru as a blot on the face of community blaming him for the entire mess that the community was facing now.
She hoped that some day some KP would rise like a Phoenix to washout that blot and set this community free from the clutches of official apathy.
The women speakers lamented that the only Hindu school for KP women: Lal Ded Girls School was destroyed by the terrorists to finish every symbol KPs in Valley.
They said that KPs must keep in mind that they will return to their native land reminding them that if Jews could go back to Israel after 2000 years why KPs can’t keep their hopes alive to reclaim their land.
The women who spoke on the occasion include Dr Shailja Bhardwaj, Dr Khema Koul, Dr Phoola Koul, Ms Bharti Bakshi, Ms Priya Raina and Dr Susheela Katroo.
Later during the youth session Sidarth Zarabi, senior editor (news) Network 18 asked the community to work out a common minimum programme instead of wasting time on unity moves.
Zarabi said that community would have to be pragmatic and unity was not possible which was evident from the way our national politics was going on adding it was the time of coalitions and KPs too must form a coalition where issues would be important rather than the individuals.
Others who spoke during the youth session include Rahul Koul, Reshim Hangloo etc.
Panun Kashmir also presented Kuldeep Wattal Memorial awards to prominent KPs which include Krishan Ji Langoo, Kuldeep Saprui, Ravi Bhan, Naina Sapru, Lovely Wangoo etc.
In a significant development the separate homeland demand was also endorsed by a cross section of different organizations and individuals including Kashmiri Samiti Delhi, All India Brhamrishi Maha Sangh, All India Saraswat Brahman Association and Roots in Kashmir, a Delhi headquartered global organization of Kashmiri Pandit youth.
In a show of solidarity with the basic demand of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits many intellectuals from Jammu including Dr. Jitender. Singh, Mr. Ram Sahay,’ Mr. B.S. Salathia, and Mr. Ashok Gupta of Shiv Sena have already expressed their full support to the homeland demand of Kashmiri Pandits during the first day of the conference.
Among the prominent speakers who spoke in favour of separate homeland demand of the displaced Pandits included Ashwani Chrangu and Sunil Shakdar a prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader and former president of Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi.
The Kashmiri Pandit speakers expressed their great appreciation for the accommodation and support provided to them by the people of Jammu. They expressed their full support and solidarity with the people of Jammu in their fight for removing the regional discrimination and Kashmir centric policies of the government.
Among the demands put forth by the conference were the creation of separate homeland for Kashmiri Pandits, state subject certificates for all seven lakh Kashmiri Pandits world wide, inclusion of all eligible displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the electoral rolls of the state, constitution of a Jammu based tribunal to speedily resolve the cases of illegal occupation of Pandit properties in the Valley, equal treatment to the refuges from POK and West Pakistan.
Spates of resolutions were passed during the different sessions of the conference as a document to form, the future course of action by the community.