In solidarity with Kashmiri Pandit

kashmir exodus

Neela Pandya

WASHINGTON, DC: The Hindu American Foundation held a candlelight vigil on January 19 in several major cities in the US to mark the 30th anniversary of the Kashmiri Pandit Exodus.
Thirty years ago, Kashmiri Hindus (known as Pandits) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir were forced to leave their ancestral homeland due to terror and killing by Pakstan sponsored terrorist in 1990.

The displaced pandits across the world commemorate January 19 as the holocaust day when more than 3.5 lakhs Kashmiris pandits were forced to leave the state.

On that day, newspapers posted fliers, and mosques issued declarations that Kashmiri Hindus were infidels and had to leave Kashmir, convert to Islam, or be killed.
The campaign, according to the former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, was part of an orchestrated campaign by Islamist militant groups sponsored by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to create an Islamic state in Kashmir.

The Hindus of the Kashmir Valley were forced to flee the Kashmir valley as a result of being targeted by JKLF and Islamist insurgents during late 1989 and early 1990. Of the approximately 300,000 to 600,000 Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley in 1990, only 2,000–3,000 remain there in 2016. January 19, 1990, is widely remembered by Kashmiri Hindus as the tragic “exodus day” of being forced out of Kashmir.

According to the Indian government, more than 62,000 families are registered as Kashmiri refugees, including some Sikh and Muslim families. Most families were resettled in Jammu, National Capital Region surrounding Delhi and other neighboring states

The vigils were held at a number of US cities that included – Sacramento, CA State Capitol | West Lawn, San Jose, CA San Jose City Hall | West Plaza, Concord, CA Concord Temple, Milpitas, CA* India Community Center, Washington, DC Lafayette Square, Naperville, IL* Naperville City Hall | 400 S Eagle St, Edison, NJ* Kashmiri Overseas Association Day of Remembrance | UmiyaMataji Temple Philadelphia, PA Independence National Historical Park | People’s Plaza, Sugar Land, TX Sugar Land Town Square | City Hall Steps

NOTE: Kashmiri Pandit organizations, not HAF, are organizing events followed by an asterisk following them. We include them here in a spirit of support and solidarity with these organizations.

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