The Hindu Council UK were heartened to hear the news of the delegation visit to Srinagar, Kashmir, led by Mrs Krishna Bhan-President of the Indo European Kashmiri Forum (IEKF) & Representative Member of the Kashmiri Pandit Association of Europe (KPAE) and Director of Hindu Council UK. The delegation will include Kashmiri Pandits, Hindu Community Leaders/Representatives, Religious Saints of India, Politicians and Human Rights Activists from UK, Europe & USA.
Hindu Council UK feel privileged to be part of this delegation.
The delegation will visit Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus living in camps in Srinagar, Jammu and other regions and see and listen to their first hand accounts about their plight. The delegation will also meet the Indian Government in Delhi to lobby and campaign on behalf of the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus. In addition, the delegation will also meet with leading Kashmiri Pandit individuals and community organisations in India during their visit.
Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus are forgotten refugees who have been subjected to one of the worst cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing this century. Kashmir was once described: “as heaven on earth” – but for Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus, the original inhabitants of the valley, Kashmir has been anything but heaven in recent years. Persecuted by extremists and deserted by their own countrymen, they have fled Kashmir and live in squalor elsewhere in the country.
Many of the 250,000 refugee Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus have been living in pitiable conditions in camps in Jammu, a Hindu-majority region south of the Kashmir Valley, as well as in other parts of India. In these camps families live in one-room brick houses covered with tin sheets, among open sewers. Life goes on for these families, but they miss their home – they say “We miss Kashmir like any child would miss their mother.”
The Indian government is trying to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits/ Hindus, but the majority of the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus believe that, until Kashmir is no longer engulfed by insurgency, return is not possible.
As India and Pakistan continue to squabble over the territory – Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus feel they have been forgotten. They are afraid that they may lose their identity due to their rootlessness. Kashmir continues to be the land of their dreams, the subject of their poems and the inspiration behind their struggle. The Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus live in the hope that one day they will return to their beloved Kashmir.
ABOUT IEKF & KPAE:
The Indo-European Kashmir Forum (IEKF) is the leading UK based organisation representing the voice of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus in India and in the valley. The organization was founded in the late eighties with the support of the wider Indian communities. It continues to highlight the plight of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus who have become the victims of terrorism.
The Kashmiri Pandit Association of Europe (KPAE), is a UK based sociocultural organisation, which was established in 1970s. It is one of the oldest Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu organisations in the world. The main aim of the organisation is to unite the entire Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu diaspora in UK and Europe and provide a platform for social and cultural meets for the community members. Since its inception, the endeavor has been to promote Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu cultural heritage in Europe, inspire social cohesion amongst Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus and where possible, provide charitable support for deserving causes within the Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu community. KPAE shall continue to serve as the premier Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu organisation in UK and Europe with a fundamental purpose that lies in promoting Kashmiri Pandit heritage and its way of living, culture and its philosophies. The organisation strives to be a propeller of social learning that caters to the spiritual, cultural, physical, humanitarian and educational needs of the community.
Sanjay Jagatia & Krishna Bhan
Hindu Council UK