Kashmiri Pandits: 30 Years of Exile


The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits began on 1/19/1990, thirty years ago when nearly 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus (also known as Pandits) were forced to flee their ancestral homes and cleansed from their homeland of centuries. The Pakistan-sponsored insurgency and campaign of targeted killings, rape, threats, and destruction of properties and religious sites had started few years earlier but events on that unfortunate day reached a fevered pitch and culminated in mass panic and the forced displacement of 99% of the Kashmiri Hindu population.

Months before that day, newspapers, posted fliers, and mosques issued declarations that Kashmiri Pandits must either convert to Islam or leave Kashmir or be ready to get killed. The campaign triggered a mass exodus of Kashmir’s religious minority, its indigenous people.

January 19 is commemorated as Exodus Day because that is the unfortunate day in 1990 when hundreds and thousands had to flee for their lives, leaving behind their homes and belongings.

Kashmiri Pandits are the indigenous Hindus from the valley of Kashmir. They are known for their significant contributions to a variety of spheres, including Shaivism, philosophy, theology, literature and poetry, music, and the arts and sciences.

Thousands are still living in miserable conditions in one room tenements near Jammu.

Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) will hold a commemorative function on 19 Jan, 2020 in most of the States in the U.S. The California KOA Zone 9 supported by Indo-American Community Federation (IACF), will also hold a commemorative event from 2:30-4:30pm at the India Community Center (ICC) Milpitas, CA.

The program will include a documentary, firsthand accounts of the genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits and patriotic songs. Learn what Kashmir has contributed to the Indian ethos and what is at stake in Kashmir. 

The event is hosted by Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA), co-hosted by Indo-American Community Federation (IACF), and supported by Association of Indo Americans (AIA) and Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Silicon Valley.

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