Kashmir Exodus Day – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has announced over a dozen candlelight events in ten states across the US to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Kashmir Exodus Day this Sunday, January 19, 2020.
As EurAsian has been reporting, January 19, 2020, marks the 30 Years in Exile for Kashmir Pandits who were driven out from the Kashmir Valley by Pakistan-backed Islamic radicals.
In 1989, Kashmir was brimming with voices of dissent and there was a surge in violence, murder and mayhem triggered by religious uprising in the state. The trouble in the valley was abetted primarily by the military leadership of neighbouring Pakistan and supported by the religious fundamentalist forces who had fallen prey to the fanciful idea of ‘Azadi’ (freedom).
“After months of planning with community partners we are humbled to announce a series of candlelight vigils that are taking place, from coast to coast, on the same day to raise awareness of and properly commemorate our martyred Hindu brothers and sisters and all of the families who were affected thirty years ago,” stated Suhag Shukla, Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation.
“Kashmir is in the news a lot these days, but all of the reporting glosses over or ignores entirely what happened to Kashmiri Hindus and why. Their stories of loss, human suffering, and forced exile, for simply being Hindu, needs to be told,” said Shukla.
Thirty years ago, Kashmiri Hindus (known as Kashmiri Pandits) experienced unimaginable devastation when they were cleansed from their ancestral homeland. The Pakistan-sponsored insurgency launched a terror campaign of targeted killings, rape, threats, and destruction of Hindu properties and religious sites that spanned over many years.
But events on January 19, 1990 reached a fevered pitch and culminated in mass panic and the forced displacement of over 350,000 people, or 95% of the Kashmiri Hindu population.
On that day, newspapers posted fliers, and mosques issued declarations that called Kashmiri Hindus “infidels” that had to leave Kashmir, convert to Islam, or they would be killed. The religious persecution and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley resulted in a sudden demographic change that would forever change the Kashmir Valley.
In the months after January 19, 1990 hundreds of thousands of displaced Pandits were forced to live in refugee camps in the neighbouring region of Jammu and in other parts of India for years, and some camps still exist today.
It is for these reasons that January 19 is commemorated as Kashmir Exodus Day.
Kashmir Exodus Day Events – Sunday, January 19, 2020
- Sacramento, CA — State Capitol | West Lawn | 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
- San Jose, CA — San Jose City Hall | West Plaza | 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Concord, CA — Concord Temple | 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
- Fresno, CA — TBA | 6:30 pm
- Davis, CA — Central Park of Davis | 1:00 pm
- Milpitas, CA — India Community Center | 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
- Washington, DC — The White House Lafayette Square | 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
- Miami, FL — Miami Dade College | The Freedom Tower | 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
- Naperville, IL — Naperville City Hall | 400 S Eagle St | 5:00 pm
- Westborough, MA — BAPS Center | 9:30 am to 12:00 pm
- Troy, MI — The Bhartiya Hindu Temple | 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
- Charlotte, NC — The University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Student Union Room 340 | 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
- Edison, NJ — Umiya Mataji Temple | 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
- Philadelphia, PA — Independence National Historical Park | People’s Plaza | 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
- Sugar Land, TX — Sugar Land Town Square | City Hall Steps | 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm