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Hindu Press International
Hindu Minority Seeking Own Homeland
on 2001/7/10 23:48:02 ( 705 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 10, 2001: It was a time of terrible fear among the Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus indigenous to the beautiful Himalayan valley. They and Hindu settlers were being killed, kidnapped and robbed by Islamic militant groups demanding independence from India or to unite with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Between October 1989 and August 1990, some 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits fled and live mostly in squalid camps in Jammu, Kashmir's winter capital. Now the Pandits are raising anew their demand for a homeland, which they say must be separate because of fears they will be targeted again. "They wanted to Islamize Kashmir and they wanted us out. It was ethnic cleansing, said Ramesh Manavati, spokesman for Our Own Kashmir, an organization that says it represents more than 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits and demands an enclave in the Kashmir Valley. The All-Party Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella group that claims to speak for Kashmir, says the Pandits are welcome back, but a separate Pandit homeland is unacceptable.




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