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Kashmiri Pandits in 'exile' to tonsure head in Delhi

Kashmiri Pandits in 'exile' to tonsure head in Delhi

Author: IANS
Publication: Thaindian.com
Date: September 13, 2009
URL: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/india-news/kashmiri-pandits-in-exile-to-tonsure-head-in-delhi_100246886.html

Twenty years after the first ever killing of a Kashmiri Pandit by militants in Jammu and Kashmir - which triggered the community's exodus from their ancestral homes in the valley - some members living in Delhi will tonsure their heads Monday to protest their "exile".

"On Sep 14, 1989, militants killed a Kashmiri Pandit in the heart of Srinagar. This sowed the seeds of our eviction from our homeland. We are protesting the completion of this tragedy by tonsuring our head," Kamal Hak, a Kashmiri Pandit "living in exile" in Delhi, told IANS.

"Nearly two dozen people will tonsure their heads and hundreds will gather near river Yamuna to mark our protest," said Hak, who along with his wife had left their home in the Kashmir Valley way back in 1990.

He said around 80,000 Kashmir Pandits are "living in exile in Delhi and its suburbs and all of them have expressed solidarity with the initiative."

Pikalal Taploo, a lawyer, was the first Kashmiri Pandit victim to terrorism.

"He was killed by terrorists right outside his house. After his death, hundreds of Pandits were killed by terrorists within the next four years. Post-1993, the number of killings has fallen as the majority of us have left the valley for other cities," Hak added.

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