Return, only to Panun Kashmir
Interview with Dr. Agnishekhar, Chairman - Panun Kashmir
1. Welcome Dr. Agnishekhar. What is Panun Kashmir? Is it just the name of your organization or is it a geographical territory? Is it just an ideology or is it a definite goal?
Agni: Panun Kashmir is an organization with a definite goal of achieving a geographical territory for the rehabilitation of the exiled Kashmiri Hindus.
Panun Kashmir is a spontaneous politic civilizational response of exiled Kashmiri Hindus against ongoing Islamic fascism in Kashmir. It is a historical movement against genocide, religious-ethnic cleansing and exodus of entire Kashmiri Pandit community. It is a vision that has a definite geo-political manifestation for the permanent and comprehensive rehabilitation of all the 7 lakh Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir as enshrined in our Margdarshan resolution. To be precise, it stands for creation of a separate Homeland for exiled Kashmiri Hindus.
2. How will Panun Kashmir be different from the concentrated settlements being proposed by several others and even the government?
Agni: Do these so-called settlement proposals or packages address the core issue of exodus of Kashmiri Hindus? Do they guarantee you that there will not be another genocide and exile for you? Do they talk about your future, your security concerns, your political and constitutional rights? No, these are moves to trivialize or circumvent the core issue of our forced exodus and at the same time these tricky proposals attempt to buy a secular face for rabid communalists of the valley.
3. What has the Panun Kashmir organization been doing after WKPC-III?
Agni: Holding such a mega event as 3rd WKPC in Jammu is by no means an ordinary achievement. PK is busy with regular organizational activities besides implementation of ‘Jammu Declaration’ of the world conference. It goes to our credit that Madhya Pradesh Assembly unanimously passed a historical resolution expressing solidarity with exiled Kashmiri Hindus struggle. We are working with some other State assemblies to follow suit.
4. There is a regular complaint against Panun Kashmir that it blocks any possibility of forward progress with an unreasonably dogmatic stance; that the movement/ organization and its leaders are not pragmatic. How do you respond to the complaint?
Agni: Do you believe that there has been any serious and honest forward progress initiated by Govt. regarding our displaced people which we ever blocked? Yes, we oppose confusing employment package with return, only to jeopardize the package. We regularly caution our people against the designs of vested interests. Yes, we are opposed to any attempt which would further the agenda of anti-nationals and would weaken accession of Kashmir with India.
5. What have been Panun Kashmir’s contributions to the Kashmiri Hindu community in its 20 years of exile?
Agni: I think this question should be left to future historians who will objectively script our immense contribution to exiled Kahmiri Pandit community in particular and the Indian Nation in general.
6. Do you believe that you still have the support of the Kashmiri Hindu community?
Agni: Yes with capital “Y”. I am proud of my community.
7. What are your regular activities? How do you fund these?
Agni: Believe me, all our activities are interlinked with our mission. My heart beats for my suffering people. Our community has never disappointed us so far as our finances are concerned.
8. There have been recent accusations by some other Kashmiri Hindus that you do not give out details regarding your accounts. Would you like to respond?
Agni: I know that a malicious and defamatory campaign has been launched by some people against Panun Kashmir and its leaders. It is a politically motivated design to malign Dr. Agnishekhar. I am grateful to my community members across the globe who simply ignores these hate mailers. Moreover, as a political movement Panun Kashmir doesn’t make its accounts public as a matter of policy. But our donors are always welcome to personally see our accounts if they wish so.
9. Do you feel any optimism in your vision for Kashmir and Kashmiri Hindus?
Agni: For me Panun Kashmir is a matter of faith. In the words of great Kashmiri Poet Dina Nath Nadim, ‘”Mei Cham aash Paghich” – Tomorrow is my hope!
10. Thank you for agreeing to communicate with Shehjar’s readers. Your message for Kashmiris, particularly Kashmiri Hindus the world over would be?
Agni: Kashmiri Hindus should know their roots and respect history and should not forget what Lalded has said- ‘Asi Aasya tu asi aasav’ We were and we shall be.
Interview with Ashwani Charangoo, President - Panun Kashmir
1. What does Panun Kashmir stand for?
AC: Despite accommodations, Kashmiri Hindus had 7 exoduses from Kashmir. We want a territory within Kashmir where the Indian constitution can flow without any obstruction. All the Kashmiri Hindus who were made to leave or have ever left Kashmir and are yearning to return, should be allowed to return
2. How can you convince people in favor of your demand? How would you answer your detractors?
AC: We had only 10% with us but today we have 90% people with our ideology. But just this does not justify what we have been advocating. The fact is that a Kashmiri Hindu can live in Kashmir only under the dispensation of Panun Kashmir. Coming and going as a tourist is a different thing but to live there, 90% would believe that the Panun Kashmir ideology has first to be implemented on the ground. We have to bring out the views of people and give them expression as they sometimes are not able to express themselves.
People can fix organizations, correct them. People who say that we have failed in 20 years, I ask people to put forward an alternative. Otherwise such statements cannot be held logical.
3. 90% support you but even after 20 years nothing has been achieved by you?
AC: Not true. There are 10-12 active Kashmiri Hindu groups. More than 100 times questions have been posed in Parliament. The Parliamentary Affairs Committee called us to a round table conference. Decisions regarding Kashmiri Hindus are taken keeping us involved.
Personally, during the process of Sankalp Yatra, I traveled to 12 states and made many friends in that process. Even coming here to the U.S.A is a part of the Sankalp Yatra. After this Phase 2 will commence and we will cover 5 more states and J&K. Sankalp yeh bhi liya hai ki Sankalp nahin todenge.
4. That is good. You are working for the community. But are you actually negotiating Panun Kashmir with anyone?
AC: Movements go through a period of ridicule. Ridicule then turns to opposition. After 20 long years, I believe that the homeland philosophy is getting into recognition mode now. We have kept the movement alive through continuous struggles. Earlier we would get many people on the street. But later KPs became engaged in other pursuits. To keep the movement alive has been no mean achievement. That the movement is alive is our biggest achievement.
5. Those in power should negotiate Panun Kashmir with you. Support and recognition is great but besides reaching out to people and making people aware, is there something that you can do so that Government actually talks to you regarding Panun Kashmir?
AC; Other countries have developed interests in Kashmir. Pakistan has been at it for 60 years. The Kashmiri Muslims, Dogras, Ladakhis , Kashmiri Hindus are all important components of a solution. This is a 700 year issue and if required we have to be prepared for even a 70 year struggle. At least after 9-11, people know about the issue of Islamic Terror.
It is not a straight path. We have to take roundabout paths. We have been to jail, been hurt, have participated in mass agitations. I am one of the people in the movement. This has to go on for a while. Homeland movement has to be given new dimensions now. Thinkers should now get involved with the movement.
6. Good points. A single leader like Rinchin spelled the death knell for Hindus in Kashmir. Besides convincing your own people, have you been able to convince any great people who can make a difference in your favor? What are you doing in this regard?
AC: Some such people who have such experience should join the movement. Experts have to come in and get involved. Meaningful people in the corridors of power have to be inclined toward us. We are thinking along these lines but how many of us will give up our comforts? How many will put our skills to use? I am an optimist. Positive thought multiplies results. Negative thoughts spoil things. Yet one has to ask these questions.
7. Where are you in your struggle? What do you see as the future?
AC: We had nothing 20 years ago and we did not even know if we would live. Look where we are. We have not wasted 20 years. We are homogeneously involved. Our youth are even achieving success outside the community. There is an urge in our youth and they have kept their spirits alive. What we may not be able to achieve in our generation, we have seen a spark and I see that completion happening through our youth.
Masses, media, government, organization, we at Panun Kashmir are looking after all aspects. Which organization would you keep on top when you speak about Kashmiri Hindu perspective on Kashmir? Panun Kashmir definitely. Media is at least listening to us and they take our views. Government calls us also and we have achieved that. We are supported by the masses. Yes it is also true that if we used to give a call earlier, we would get a 1000 people but today we get only 100. The 2 situations cannot be compared however. In today’s time, what we do on a regular day, how can others see us as refugees? Not in US, not in Mumbai and even in Jammu it is becoming different. But when there is a crisis we do step out. At the time of the Amarnath issue, even my 14 year old son stepped out with others. I did not influence him but he learnt himself. In a given situation, how do people react, that is the question! Kashmiri Hindus came out on the streets for the Amarnath issue. Today, most are at peace but many are doing work for the vision of Panun Kashmir and when the time comes, everyone will come together.
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