INDO-EUROPEAN KASHMIR FORUM
Kashmiri Hindus Manifesto for the General Election 2015
Indo-European Kashmir Forum is the voice of the displaced Kashmiri Hindus in India and in the Kashmir Valley. The Organisation was founded in the late eighties with the support of the wider Indian communities. The Forum highlights the plight of Kashmiri Hindus who have become victims of terrorism. It also investigates violations of human rights of Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of terrorist organisations.
Today, most people in the UK are neither aware of the forced displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in 1989-90, nor are they aware of the circumstances that led to this displacement.
Actions to be taken
It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that:
- The new Government raises the awareness of the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits.
- The new Government facilitates, takes effective measures to get the Government of India to constitute a Commission, headed by a serving/retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to probe into the circumstances that led to the ethnic cleansing of the entire Kashmiri Hindu religious minority, generally called Kashmiri Pandits the world over, from Kashmir in 1989-1990.
- The new Government and the Government of India to create a Centrally Monitored Fund which will cater to the needs of the exiled community. This should include provision of enhanced relief compensation, health care, scholarships to deserving/destitute students, Grants to entrepreneurs and members of the trading community hit hard by displacement, financial assistance to unemployed youth for setting up of small scale industrial units and for carrying out repairs and restitution of desecrated and damaged Temples and Shrines. Provide Resettlement Package to Valley-Based KPs.
- The minuscule community of KPs who, despite suffering enormous hardships, preferred to stay on in the Valley during the turbulent period of 1989-90 and beyond, have lived a miserable life under the fear of gun, ever since and the amelioration of their social and economic condition is integral to the restitution of the community in its entirety. They must, therefore, be included in the Resettlement package.
- Since political empowerment is the bedrock of any democracy that wants to protect its minorities, KPs must get their rightful representation in the State legislatures and other representative institutions. Such provision will not only empower the community politically, but will also go a long way in allaying their genuine fears about their future well-being. It may be noted that due to the gerrymandering of cons some decades back, KPs were in no position to elect their own representatives. Therefore, reservations for them to send their representatives to the Legislative Assembly, is the only available safeguard on this account.
- Displaced KPs be declared Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The New Government must encourage India to recognise Internally Displaced People (IDP), as recognised by Article 3 and Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions. However, time has come when India will have to recognise such people because of the necessity of providing relief and rehabilitation to huge number of displaced people in many parts of the country. Displaced Kashmiri Pandits fulfil all conditions for them to be declared as IDP. Once declared as such, they will be entitled to various forms of assistance that the UN mandates; something they have been unfairly deprived of for the past over two decades.
- Along with this the new Government should also persuade the Indian Government to repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which provides special (temporary) status for Jammu & Kashmir (JK). This article means that the residents of the state live under a separate state of laws as compared to other Indians; this has had a detrimental impact not only on Hindu’s but also on the rights of women and no longer relevant to maintain its wall of hatred.
- Temples and Shrines Bill:- After the exodus of the community from Kashmir in 1989-90, the temples, shrines, pilgrimage centres, Matts, etc., which represents hundreds of years of continuing tradition, have suffered enormously due to desecration, neglect and poor management and the wide spread encroachment of their lands and estates by unscrupulous elements, sometimes with official connivance. To protect and preserve these institutions of heritage, the new Government must encourage the Indian Government to ratify the draft bill (Temples and Shrines preservation) pending in the Legislative Assembly should be passed at the earliest after taking people of other regions of the State on board.
Krishna Bhan President IEKF