Kashmiri Pandits Protest Omar's Remark on Their Exodus

A group of Kashmiri Pandits today held protest here over recent remarks by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that the exodus of the community from the Valley took place in 1990 when Jagmohan was the Governor.

Holding placards, the Pandits raised slogans at Jantar Mantar against Omar and said his remarks of blaming BJP for the exodus was akin to "not acknowledging the real reason and the people" responsible for it.

The protests held by Jammu-based organistaion Youth 4 Panun Kashmir (Y4PK) and joined by Roots In Kashmir (RIK), condemned Omar's statements on the issue.

"We are tired of listening to rhetoric and being refugees in our own country," Amit Raina of Roots In Kashmir said.

Omar recently in a rebuttal to BJP leader Narendra Modi's attack on him and NC chief Farooq Abdullah that their family "communalised" the state had said, "When Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley, Jagmohan, who has not parted ways with BJP yet, as far as I know, was ruling the state (as Governor). Farooq Sahib was not in power."

"Jagmohan was appointed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (now PDP patron), who was the Home Minister in V P Singh cabinet. V P Singh was heading the government with BJP support...I hope they (BJP leaders) remember this," Omar said.

The protesters demanded that an inquiry commission be set up to look into the "incidents and violence" that led to their community's exodus from Kashmir on Jaunary 19, 1990.

"And, Omar said we had 'left' Kashmir. Playing politics, he put the blame on BJP. Don't we know who did it? We condemn his statement," Panun Kashmir member and a protester, Lalit Ambardar said.

Panun Kashmir Delhi Co-ordinator Vithal Chowdhary, who fled J&K when he was just seven years old, said, their demands were very simple and their protests always have been "against the Indian state and not the Indian nation".

The protesters also alleged that Farooq's recent remarks that "those who vote for Modi should drown in the sea" was a way for the father-son duo to "absolve" themselves of their responsibilities.

"Among our other demands is a piece of land back in our homeland Kashmir where we can live and be governed by a free flow of the Constitution, without the shadow of Article 370 over our head. We don't want to be treated as minorities but as any other Indian," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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