To mark the 30th anniversary of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus, Indian-Americans held events in more than three dozen cities and towns across the United States and recognised the resilience of the community. According to reports, the community organised peaceful rallies, a candlelight vigil and public meetings to highlight the hardships faced by the Pandits in Kashmir in 1990. Such events took place in New York, New Jersey, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Detroit among other cities on January 19.
The Indian-Americans for Kashmir who organised the event in New Jersey said that it is designed to show “the truth, data, and factual stories” along with the “progress in the restoration of peace” in the valley. The Hindu American Foundation which has been organising multiple events in the country said that 30 years ago, the Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) experienced “unimaginable devastation” in their homeland.
The Hindu American Foundation statement also said, “The Pakistan-sponsored insurgency and campaign of targeted killings, rape, threats, and destruction of property and religious sites spanned over many years. But events on January 19, 1990 reached a feverish pitch and culminated in mass panic and the forced displacement of 95 per cent of the Kashmiri Hindu population.”
It further said, “The campaign, according to the former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, was part of an orchestrated campaign by Islamist militant groups sponsored by Pakistan''s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to create an Islamic state in Kashmir.”
Several Kashmiri Pandits also held a protest in Jammu on January 19 even after 30 years of mass exodus followed by a genocidal campaign initiated by terrorists. The protesters reportedly held placards saying, “Holocaust Day – 19.01.1990” and “Kashmiri Pandits, Victims of Religious Cleansing Facing Apartheid.” The community also demanded justice for the victims and severe punishment for those who stand responsible.
Ravinder Raina, President of All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference told a national news agency that they have been “observing this black day since January 19, 1990” when the Pandits in Kashmir were driven away from their homes. He also posed a question to the government asking “Why have they been silent for the last 30 years?.”