Panun Kashmir (Kashmiri: पनुन कश्मीर (Devanagari), پنون کشمیر (Nastaleeq)) is an organisation of displaced/refugee Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus) founded in December 1990 in Jammu, in order to demand that a separate and safe homeland for Kashmir's Hindu population be carved out of the overwhelmingly Muslim Valley of Kashmir. Almost the entire Pandit population was expelled from Kashmir in 1990 by separatist militants for their allegedly pro-India political beliefs.
Origin and etymology
Panun Kashmir means our own Kashmir in Kashmiri. The Panun Kashmir organization was founded in 1990 after the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus from the Indian state of Kashmir, under threat from Islamic terrorists managed by Pakistan's intelligence services. According to external estimates between 150,000 and 300,000 Hindus were expelled as a result of this ethnic cleansing, Panun Kashmir estimates are even higher at nearly 700,000 people.
The organization also believes that Hindus in Kashmir and Jammu have been discriminated against by Kashmiri authorities since 1949, and that Hindus have been neglected at the expense of appeasement of Muslims due to article 370, and various policies instituted by different Indian governments. While it accepts that Kashmir's population is larger than Jammu's, it believes that Kashmir's dominance of politics in Jammu and Kashmir is a result of "minority appeasement," and not democratically elected majorities which would reflect the demographics of Kashmir.
Goals of Panun Kashmir
Kashmiri Hindus have demanded a separate state or union territory, as a means to protect themselves from attacks by separatist militants, while at the same time preserving Kashmiri Hindu culture. The organization claims to:
[have] unshakable faith in the unity and integrity of India. It is wedded to secularism, democracy, rule of law and respect for all religious faiths. It is opposed to communalism, religious fundamentalism and terrorism in any form or guise.
The organization also wishes for displaced Hindus to be termed "refugees," rather than "migrants," which they allege is the term used by the state administration for their community. Further, the organization claims that its goal is broad enough to not only encompass the cause of Kashmir's Hindus, but also India's very survival and territorial integrity.
Panun Kashmir recognizes Kashmir's Muslim majority as formerly Hindu, who were forced to convert to Islam. Panun Kashmir wishes that Kashmir's existing Hindu population be considered as a part of the native inhabitants of Kashmir. The organization claims that Kashmir's Muslim community has descended from Hindus that were forced into Islam, thereby resulting in the Hindu population of Kashmir becoming a minority because they were either killed or forced out of Kashmir, while the Muslim population grew as invading armies settled Muslims in the Valley.
The organization passed a resolution in 1991 demanding that:
(a) the establishment of a Homeland for the Kashmiri Hindus in the Valley of Kashmir comprising the regions of the Valley to the East and North of river Jhelum.
(b) that the Constitution of India be made applicable in letter and spirit in this Homeland in order to ensure right to life, liberty, freedom of expression and faith, equality and rule of law.
(c) that the Homeland be placed under the Central administration with a Union Territory status; and
(d) that all the seven hundred thousand Kashmiri Hindus, including those who have been driven out of Kashmir in the past and yearn to return to their homeland and those who were forced to leave on account of terrorist violence in Kashmir, be settled in the homeland on an equitable basis with dignity and honor.
That is, Panun Kashmir's advocates wish for the majority of the valley of Kashmir, cities such as Srinagar, Anantnag, Sopore, Baramulla, Varmul, and Awantipora be included in the Kashmiri Hindu homeland. However, the organization claims that it in fact does not seek a Hindu Homeland rather, it seeks a homeland for Kashmiri Pandits who are Hindus and are ready to live peacefully with their Muslim neighbours.
Indian official sources put least 38,000 families, mostly Hindus of which 34,202 Pandit, 2,168 Muslim and 1,749 Sikh families have migrated from the Valley to other parts of the country. According to Indian official sources, since 1989, a total of 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed, including those who died in Jammu due to blasts and firings after Pandits had migrated from valley. Out of the total 219 killings, at least 129 were witnessed between March 1989 and December 31, 1990, during which Pandits left valley.Panun Kashmir is an organization that upholds secularism, while at the same time rejecting communalism. Most of the kashmiri pandits of panun kashmir have been witness to the ethnic cleansing of Hindis and Sikhs in the Kashmir valley by majority of Muslims supported by fundamentalist outfits. Some articles in this regards are given below :
- Evans, Alexander (2002). "A departure from history: Kashmiri Pandits, 1990-2001". Contemporary South Asia. 11 (1): 19–37. doi:10.1080/0958493022000000341.
- "India". The World Factbook. 2009. ISSN 1553-8133. Archived from the original on 2009-05-13.
IDPs: at least 600,000 (about half are Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir) (2007)
- "A Homeland for the Kashmiri Pandits". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "A Homeland for Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus from Kashmir)". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "Why Homeland? Accession to India & Persecution". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-04-07. horizontal tab character in
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- "Why Homeland? Exile". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "Why Homeland? Introduction". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "Why Homeland? Advent of Islam and Persecution". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "Why Homeland? Is it a Hindu Homeland that we are seeking?". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
- "Why Homeland? What if the terrorist outfits operating in the Valley give a call asking the exiles to return to the valley?". Panun Kashmir. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.