Twelve Years and Counting....
The coming 14th of September will mark the 12th death anniversary of Pt. Tika Lal Taploo. It was on this day in 1989 when Islamic Terrorists in Kashmir gunned down Pt. Tika Lal Taploo and conveyed their first explicit threat to the existence of Kashmiri Pandits. That was the first gruesome sign of things to come for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley of Kashmir. That was Islamic Terrorism's first explicit threat to the Kashmiri Pandit's life, dignity and honor. And that was not the last.
It has been twelve years since Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of their homes and hearths and forced to live as refugees in their own country. And during these twelve years, not much has been done to alleviate the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits. All the successive central and state governments have completely neglected this forsaken and endangered community. And not much has been done by organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Commissions either. None of these so-called Human Rights organizations have bothered to talk about the violation of human rights of this community.
We as individuals have survived this latest exodus and persecution in the series of exoduses and religious persecutions but as a community we are at crossroads. We are at a point where our community's survival is at stake without a political base in our homeland to regain our cultural and religious rights.
We cannot afford to be dispersed all over the globe. A majority of our community needs to be living as a composite ethnic group in our own homeland. We have to go back to our roots. Only then can we water, nourish and grow the tree that symbolizes Kashmiri Pandit.
While we continue to fight for our rights and work towards our goal of going back to our roots, let us not forget the sacrifices made by thousands of our community members. People like Pt. Sarvanand Premi, Deepak Ganju, Sarla Bhat and thousand others gave up their lives because they believed in our cause. They preferred to get killed because they did not want to be severed from their roots. They laid down their lives because for them the community meant more than their own self. For all those martyrs, sacrifice for community was of the highest order. We owe it to those martyrs to continue our fight until we are able to connect back with our own roots.
Thus on the coming 14th September, when we pay our tributes to all our revered martyrs, let us all pledge that
Let we, all Kashmiri Pandits, work hard to get back to OUR ROOTS. Let us all work towards the ultimate goal of our community - Going Back To Its Homeland - Panun Kashmir.