25 years on, Kashmir Pandits long for homeland

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Nagrota (JK), Jan 18: It has been 25 years since the Kashmiri Pandits fled from the Valley following outbreak of militancy, but the memories of the terror they faced and the pain of leaving everything they owned is still afresh.

With the onset of armed insurgency, more than four lakh Kashmiri Pandits migrated during the exodus, taking shelter in other parts of the country.

Kashmir

"The people, who were our friends suddenly turned foes, loudspeakers were being used to threaten us and warn us to leave the Valley," said Bansi Lal Koul, a resident of Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar who along with his family migrated to Jammu.

He said that the people "who had promised to protect us turned their back when the need arose".

"On the assurance of our neighbour that they would protect us, we stayed back for sometime, but when a few armed militants knocked our doors, nobody came for our help," he claimed.

The displaced Kashmiri Pandits, who are till now staying in various migrant settlements across Jammu, said they had to undergo unimaginable hardships when they became "migrants" in their own country.

Fearing attacks by militants, a large number of Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their houses in the night.

"As the militancy started in Kashmir, there were large scale pro-freedom processions on the roads. The demonstrators were openly demanding death for India and Indians and the police watched like a mute spectator," alleged Alok Kumar, a resident of Habba Kadal in Srinagar, now putting up in the Jagti migrant township in Nagrota.

PTI

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