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Kashmiri Pandits in London stage protest outside Pak high commission over recent civilian killings in J&K

Author: Naomi Canton
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 17, 2021
URL:       https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/kashmiri-pandits-in-london-stage-protest-outside-pak-high-commission-over-recent-civilian-killings-in-jk/articleshow/87072208.cms?s =03&from=mdr

British Kashmiri Hindus staged a protest outside the Pakistan high commission in London on Saturday calling for an end to Pakistan’s support of terror groups that have killed several civilians, including Hindus, in Kashmir this month, and an end to attempts by terrorists at ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Kashmir.

The protesters, mostly Kashmiri Pandits, also want to see justice and reparations for the "historic genocide" and forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley, for which they say no one has been prosecuted.

They chanted "Pakistan bhikari hai (Pakistan is a beggar)" and "Kashmir hamara hai, aadha nahi, sara hai (Kashmir is ours, not just half, but all of it)" outside the Pakistan high commission in Knightsbridge. As Pakistan officials filmed them from inside, they pushed a letter through the door addressed to the Pakistan high commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan calling on the Pakistan government to "desist from promoting trouble and violence in Kashmir".

The letter expressed concern about the "continued sponsorship of terror groups in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan" and said the "ISI is behind this trans-national murder campaign". It was signed by Hindu Council UK, Indo-European Kashmir Forum, Kashmir Pandit Association of Europe and Kashmir Pandit Cultural Society.

Many protesters told TOI their families had been forced to flee Kashmir in 1990, losing their property, which they said was now occupied by Muslims. They told TOI they did not feel safe returning and that an "ethnocide" was taking place.

Sam Tukra (25) said he had heard many stories from his parents about Kashmir but had never been able to visit. His grandparents fled during the insurgency. "Most Hindus fear they won’t come back alive if they go to Kashmir," he said.

Sonal Sher left Kashmir in March 1990 with nothing but the clothes on her back and fled to Jammu. She said: "British MPs have their Pakistan-origin constituents talking about Kashmir, but they don’t understand why the Indian Army went there in the first place. It was because so many Hindus were butchered. My grandfather died in exile in Jammu. This is the story of every Kashmir Hindu: our elders died pining for their homeland, our families separated and the children have never seen Kashmir. There are militants going round Kashmir with guns and, if they find you have a Hindu or Sikh name, they will shoot you."

Sanjay Peshin was 10 years old in 1990 when he saw a Hindu killed in front of him and he said no one did anything. "Our properties have now been burnt or illegally occupied," he said.

The Kashmiri Hindu group had planned to hold a vigil outside the India high commission in London on Saturday after the Pakistan protest to call for greater security for Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir but called it off when they discovered British Sikhs would be staging a protest over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence at the same time. TOI witnessed a crowd of British Sikhs standing outside the Indian high commission holding placards promoting their unofficial Khalistan referendum, scheduled to take place in London on October 31, and placards blaming the recent farmer deaths on the BJP government.
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