NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Friday, March 5, 2010

Kashmir Hindu Exiles’ Dream of Returning Comes Closer

 March 05, 2010
KASHMIR, INDIA, February 22, 2010: The 400,000 Hindus driven out by Muslim extremists 20 years ago hope talks beginning this week will bring them a step closer to going home.

There are positive signs, for in recent months several long-closed Hindu temples have been restored and reopened, with the help of the Muslim community, and a key Hindu festival was celebrated in Srinagar for the first time 20 years. A Pandit organization in the city hopes to reopen 60 more temples in the valley this year. Muslim leaders admit more needs to be done, both in providing homes and jobs and in building sufficient trust to persuade Hindus to return. Occasions at which the community comes together include the religious festivals it has traditionally marked. On a recent afternoon in the Lajpat Nagar neighborhood of Delhi, scores of Kashmiri Hindus gathered to celebrate perhaps the most important, Shivatri, or the “Night of Shiva”.

In January 19, 1990, the Hindus of Kashmir, better known as the Kashmiri Pandits, were forced to flee the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountains in which their families had lived for centuries. In just three months, more than 400,000 Hindus were scattered across India and beyond. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed. Two decades later, fewer than 3,000 Hindus remain and the government of India says it is determined to help those who want to return to the homes they were forced to leave. But the Pandits say the government does little but talk. Even now, many are still enduring lives of quiet misery in inadequate refugee camps.

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