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Kashmiri Pandits carry protest to Delhi

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
August 06, 2008 18:44 IST
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Hours before an all party meet called by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at his residence,  Hindu organisations comprising Dogras, Kashmiri Pandits and intellectuals from the state got together to protest against the central government's failure to include their representatives at the meeting so that they too could air their grievances.

Seema Kiran, a journalist hailing from Pacca Dunga in Jammu city, while airing her anger at the continued disparity and antipathy shown by the local administration, said the revocation of the land transfer was an attempt to ensure that Hindus from any part of India should not visit the valley.

"This is a dangerous game that some people are playing. Omar Abdullah should not forget that the land they call their own actually belongs to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Dogra Rajas Gulab Singh and Hari Singh. This land was taken aways from Kashmiri Pandits and Dogras and given to the Muslims. Abdullah said he is fighting for his land and he would not give an inch of the land to the Hindus. He should remember that Duryodhan also made a similar statement and the whole family perished in the battle which Pandavas went on to win," Kiran said.

Over one thousand Kashmiri Pandits and Dogras took part in the demonstration that began at 11 pm and culminated at 2 pm. Unlike the last time there was no water cannon, no lathi charge and no arrests were made. The Parliament police station chief allowed the demonstrators to disburse after they had finished all their speeches.

Nancy Kaul, general secretary of the Daughters of Vitasta condemned the action against the people of Jammu who have taken to the streets in the last 36 days.

"Our demand is that the land allotted to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board should be restored with immediate effect as it amounts to a contempt of court because it was after the Jammu and Kashmir high court cleared the proposal that the land was allotted and that too after paying a fee of Rs 2.45 crore for raising temporary infrastructure to create facilities for the pilgrims. This is an attempt to finish off our identity," Kaul said.

The protestors were also angry at Sajjad Lone, who had said that Hindus own only Jammu, Samba and Kathua indicating that the rest of Kashmir was only for Kashmiri Muslims. Lone is a one-time moderate.

The demonstrators said their primary demand is that the land be restored to the SASB and Governor N N Vohra who cancelled the the allotment of land should be recalled
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Onkar Singh in New Delhi