Winter capital of J&K, Jammu remained hub of activities with protest demonstrations on the eve of World Human Rights Day on December 10. The displaced Kashmiri Pandits (KPs), who have been leading an exiled life for the last 17 years, took to the streets in Jammu demanding an end to ?human rights violations?? against the community. Various organisations of the displaced community organised demonstrations and took out rallies highlighting their plight.
To protest against what it called the state policy of apartheid towards the Kashmiri Pandits, the Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM) organised a sit-in protest demonstration at Dogra Chowk. PKM activists handed over a memorandum signed by Prof. M.L. Raina, chairman, Human Rights Committee and S.N. Dulloo, vice-chairman, to the Chief de Mission of the UN Military Observer Group for J&K.
Shri Ashwani Kumar Chrangoo, president, PKM, made a scathing attack while addressing the demonstration on the attitude of callousness and deliberate neglect of the grave human rights situation of the Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities in the J&K state by the Government of India. He alleged that the minorities in J&K were facing the state policy of apartheid in their own country. Raising slogans against the government, the demonstrators accused it of its failure in improving the human rights violation of minorities in J&K.
Another KPs organisation, Panun Kashmir (PK) on this occasion of Human Rights Day paid homage to martyrs of the community and dedicated a memorial plaque on the bank of river Chenab at Jia Pota Ghat, Akhnoor (Jammu). The members of the community paid glowing tributes to the martyrs and expressed their deep anguish over the continued apathy and neglect of KPs in exile, on this occasion.
Musical tributes were paid by eminent artists and two minutes silence was observed in memory of martyrs. Among the eminent poets Dr R.L. Shant, M.L. Aash, Dr Khema Kaul, P.N. Shaad, Dr M.K. Bharat, Prabha Raina, Dr K.L. Choudhary and Dr Agnishekhar participated in a multilingual mushayara on the occasion. The vote of thanks was proposed by Sudesh Dhar.
Addressing the PK activists, Dr Agnishekhar said the condition of KPs is akin to a genocide and they are living an animal existence as has been noted earlier by two chairmen of NHRC. Under the prevailing circumstances the community has no alternative but to continue struggle, he added.
Echoing the concerns of the community, Dr K.L. Chowdhary, Moti Kaul and A.N. Vaishnavi called upon the community to unite for new phase of struggle in the light of serious developments taking place.
Aborigines of Kashmir (AOK), an initiative launched by Kashmiri Pandit youth to highlight the atrocities inflicted upon the Kashmiri Pandit community, also protested at Indira Chowk on World Human Rights Day.
Highlighting the human rights violations against the community, AOK demanded alleviating the issues being faced by the ethnically cleansed minority community. They also demanded setting-up of the commission to inquire into the causes behind ethnic cleansing, declaration of KPs the internally displaced people and exploring the mechanisms for providing financial, economical and political rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) also held a meeting to observe the Human Rights Day. In the meeting, the leaders of ASKPC urged the state and central governments to solve the problems of unemployment and traders, besides restoration of encroached land and property of the community. The meeting was chaired by Amar Nath Vaishnavi, ASKPC chief, and among others it was addressed by party general secretary, Hira Lal Chatta and senior vice-president, R.K. Raina.