Balidan Diwas or Martyrs Day was held by displaced Kashmiri Pandits in major cities including Delhi, Jammu and Chandigarh. In a relatively small gathering, the Kashmiri Pandits paid homage to martyrs, who lost their lives in 1989, when Pakistan-backed terrorists in collaboration with Kashmiri separatists started targeting prominent Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley.
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Some Kashmiri Pandits at the Balidan Diwas stated that India should Scrap Article ‘35 A’ and Article 370 for the smooth movement of people across Jammu and Kashmir. While some people said it does not make any difference to them as they have been booted out from Kashmir and successive government have failed to stick to their promises.
Prof Tickoo, a member of Kashmir Pandit displaced committee said that we have endured horrifying experience with scores of women being raped, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits being killed and more than five lakh people thrown out of their homes. He added that over 50,000 Pandits lost their lives due to immense temperature, hunger and snake bites.
There are thousands of Kashmiri Pandit organisations in India, but according to Prof. Tickoo, none of them are united and run their own separate agendas. Until and unless Kashmiri Pandits don’t come under one single umbrella, they will always be used as a political fodder.
The Indian government under PM Modi, as promised during elections, should establish a clear rehabilitation and compensation package so that displaced migrants can be resettled back in the valley. However, he added that without jobs, security and assurance from the government, not many people from the Kashmiri Pandit community will like to go back.