Panel discussion on Kashmiri Pandit exodus held at MA

Sunayana Kachroo
Sunayana Kachroo

Geetha Patil

WESTBOROUGH: MA Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) held a panel discussion on the ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the tragic “Mass-Exodus Day” of Kashmiri Pandits being forced out of Kashmir at Westborough, MA on 19 January 2020.

Over 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their ancestral homes and homeland in the valley following a very barbaric ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaign launched by the terrorists. More than 100 audiences attended the program.

The program began with the chanting of Shanti Mantra by Sanjay Saxena and Sangeeta Saxena and remembered those who were killed. Sunayana Kachroo, a poet, recited two poems that narrated what happened to Kashmiris on 19 January 1990 and how much she misses her homeland. Later, distinguished panel members spoke on the exodus of Hindus from Kashmir that occurred three decades ago by narrating many penned their memories of loss and pain.

Their stories of lost childhood lost homes, lost culture, music, and art, mixed with feelings of lost friendships, betrayal and a sense of being disowned, dispossessed and uprooted made audience empathetic. Few other members talked about the current plight of Kashmiris as refugees in their own country and what and how the government can help them to re-establish their lives.

Dr Chand Bhanspoke about how all the NRI Kashmiris are working together and gathering all the resources to work on their agendas that help to end genocide in the valley. Kavita Chibber gave a vivid picture of how the government and non-government agencies, including media, were working on this Kashmir issue.

Arti Kaul, who is a famous singer, talked about losing Kashmiri culture, music, and art and how she is working to restore and revive it. Dr Omanand Koul spoke eloquently about the rich history of Kashmir. Lalit Koul talked about the terrorists’ violence in Kashmir and how they were forced to flee the Kashmir valley by terrorists.

Ms Megha Koul, a medical student here visited Kashmir refugee camps in India to understand their pain and plight and trying to provide them with medical services. Vikram Salman, a young boy, experienced the terror of mass-exodus of Kashmiris by Muslim militants and narrated that horrendous story.

On that dark day, Kashmiri Hindus were given an eviction notice by the Muslim community & the Islamic terrorists. It was the day when the threat to convert, die or run away replaced the sounds of morning Azaan from all mosques in the Valley. He recalled the horror of waking up to hear this command.

Over half a million innocent people had to abandon their homes and belongings as they headed to safer areas outside of Kashmir. He said that Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus were made homeless overnight, and since then they have become refugees in our own country.

Kashmir Adiences

Sanjay Saxena talked about how to exercise control over the breeding of terrorists and eliminate them from the valley and safeguard the lives of the Hindus in Kashmir. AnupamWali, he narrated how they all struggled in the initial years being scattered all over the world and later formed their KOA to stay together and support each other.

In the end, Dr Abhaya Asthana talked about how the present government can help them in re-establishing Kashmiris’ life. At the same time, he encouraged the Kashmiri community to take the initiative and get motivated as all the non-Kashmiris stand behind them.

The panel members answered all the questions of the audiences with the relevant facts. Sanjay Kaul moderated the program very diligently. He concluded the program by saying the denial, misinformation, and silence of the forced exodus of the Kashmiri Hindu community has been rampant in narratives by the press and in discussions and debates all across the world. It was thus imperative on Kashmiri Overseas Association to educate others and to make all efforts to get their voices heard.

Sanjay thanked all the panel members for sharing their stories and making suggestions for policymaking. He expressed his gratitude for all the participants for their interest and support. He also thanked all the volunteers for their help and services.

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