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Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India
January 19, 2000
 
Dear Friends,

Following are the brief details about the meeting of PK delegation with the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi on January 19, 2000:

Five member delegation comprising of Dr. Agnishekhar, Shri Moti Kaul, Prof. Neerja Tickoo, Shri Ashok Pandit and Shri Mahesh Bhat met the Prime Minister at 11.30 am (IST) on January 19, 2000. As You may be aware that Shri Mahesh Bhat is a well known Film Director.

Although the meeting was scheduled for 10 minutes, it lasted for almost 25 minutes. Here we need to recognise that this is for the first time that any Prime Minister of the country gave audience to Panun Kashmir delegation.

Prime Minister gave us a real patient hearing and the following Memorandum was presented to him:eparate self administrative Union Territory for Kashmiri Pandits.

Copy of the Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister:
 

HON'BLE SIR,

It is ironic that while the entire mankind is still busy with ushering in the new millennium, more than 3.5 lac Kashmiri Pandits are completing a decade of their rootlessness and forced exile from Kashmiri, their ancestral Homeland. Panun Kashmir, on behalf of the entire Kashmiri Pandit community would like to state the following for your consideration.

Mr. Prime Minister, right from the day since India achieved independence 53 years ago, a covert but systematic process of assaulting various symbols of Indian Nationalism has been on in Kashmir. This debilitating process off weakening the basic structure of Indian democratic, pluralistic and Secular traditions in Kashmir assumed the shape of a civilisational assault on Indian Nationhood with the manifestation of a religious fundamentalist and extremist violent moment in 1989-90. The Kashmiri Pandits, who not only represented the live symbols of Indian nationalism in Kashmir but also constituted the continuity of a rich Indian socio cultural heritage of more than 5000 years, became the first victim of theocratic thought process. The resultant genocide, ethnic cleansing and mass exodus of a three hundred fifty thousand minority on the basis of religious faith represent a great shame and stigma on the very fundamentals of this great nation of one billion people.

Mr. Prime Minister, the past ten years have been a harrowing experience for a community which has always been proud of its unflinching loyalty and significant contribution towards the growth of the country. The callousness with which the successive governments have treated the Kashmiri Pandits defies any dignified logic and sane thinking. Every single Kashmiri Pandits is a living example of misery, neglect, despair and deprivation. The paucity of space and the need for brevity will not prevent us to tabulate hereunder,the injustice meted out to the Kashmiri Pandits during the last 10 years. Still the following must be emphasised :

  • Despite defying all logic, explanations and even dictionary meaning Kashmiri Pandits have been branded as Migrants instead of refugees or forcibly displaced people.
  • During last years no attempt has ever been made to work out a comprehensive national formula for the rehabilitation and repatriation of the Kashmiri Pandits.
  • Kashmiri Pandits have been left to fend for themselves will no state sponsored institutionalised process for providing them any succour.
  • And what more can be an example of criminal neglect of the Kashmiri Pandits that till date no Indian Prime Minister has acceded to the request of the community leaders for a meeting to present our point of view.
Mr. Prime Minister, Kashmiri Pandits have little faith in any of the previous regimes at the centre to solve their problems. But from you, sir, Kashmiri Pandits have had and will have great expectations and hopes. Our morale has received a tremendous boost as a result of you being the first Indian Prime Minister in ten years to have agreed to grant audience to Kashmiri Pandits. Entire Kashmiri Pandit community will, therefore, be looking towards you for restoring their basic rights as the citizens of this country.

Sir, ten years is not a small time for a deprived community to continue suffering in silence. The national policy has miserably failed the Pandits and your government represents last hope for the beleagured community. If the exercising of your constitutional responsibility towards the community is not forthcoming, the Kashmiri Pandits will have no other political door to knock at. And history reveals that the failure of a political system to rescue the persecuted people often leads to an unpleasant and inconvenient situation. Kashmiri Pandits will never hope for that eventuality because of their great faith in you.

Mr. Prime Minister, Panun Kashmir, on behalf of entire displaced Kashmiri Pandits, therefore demands:

An immediate political reorganisation of Jammu & Kashmir state to fulfil the legitimate political aspirations of different regions and creation of a separate self administered Union Territory for Kashmiri Pandits. Needless to emphasise, this territory to be called as PANUN KASHMIR be fully and totally integrated with Union of India in true letter and spirit of the constitution of India without any binding shackles of any restrictive statitutes.

Sir, till the constitutional administrative and financial framework, needed for the above, are put in order, Panun Kashmir as confidence building measures further demands.

    1. An enhancement of cash relief to poor Kashmiri Pandits families be uniformly raised to Rs.7000/- per month per family throughout India.

    2. Constitutional safeguards be provided against any forcible relocation or refoulment of Pandits.

    3. Re-activation of centres Kashmir cell and making it more vibrant and responsive towards peoples aspirations by inducting at least three members of Panun Kashmir in it.

    4. Infrastructural support be provided to Panun Kashmir, for creating a Kashmiri Pandit cultural and heritage centre at Jammu for preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Pandits and save them for extinction.

    5. A commission of inquiry be set up to establish factors responsible for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

    6. A global census of Kashmiri Pandits be undertaken to determine their exact number.

    7. Kashmiri Pandits be declared as Internally Displaced People.

    8. Constitutional safeguards be provided to the Kashmiri Pandits for continuing their intellectual pursuits by reserving seats for their children in all professionals and technical colleges.

    9. Government of India to declare a comprehensive policy on the future of Kashmiri Pandits with obligtory rights to the community to either accept it or reject it.

Hon'ble Prime Minister, the above demands are the reflection of legitimate and genuine aspirations of Kashmiri Pandits and have the backing of the entire nation, which is indicated by the thousands of signatures appended to this petition by the citizens of this country.

We, therefore, hope for your immediate attention towards providing justice to Kashmiri Pandits.

On behalf of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

Dr. Agnishekhar

Panun Kashmir

   
 
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