Past activities events
I am pleased to announce that myself and Dr Manorama Bakshi are holding our next Kathbath with our President, Dr Ramesh Raina tomorrow at 7PM live on zoom. You are requested to join FB live of this Curtain Raiser event where Dr Ramesh Raina will be answering questions regarding our next 2-Days Regional Conclave happening in Kolkatta this weekend on 30th April & 1st May 2022 hosted by KP Sabha, Kolkatta.
Friendship Series between Jammu Rising Stars and Gurugram Stars was formally inaugurated by Mr. Vijay Aima, President, All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), Delhi, in an impressive, colourful and well-attended function at Nischay Cricket Academy Cricket Ground, Gurugram, on 17th June, 2017.
The cricket exposure tour was organized at Gurugram by All India Kashmiri Samaj Delhi, Zonal Police Headquarters, Jammu, Police Headquarters Gurrgram, KKS Gurugram and Ambience Group.
The ‘Friendship Series’ between Jammu Rising Stars and Gurugram Stars was organized under the supervision of S. D. Singh, IGP, Jammu and Vijay Aima, President AIKS. The main objective of the series is a ‘Youth Integration through Sports’. The official sponsor of the series is Ambience Group.
While speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest, Mr. Aima, President of AIKS said that the main motive of the tournament is to promote youth and build national integration. He add that for the smooth & successful conduct of the series, Zonal Police Headquarters, Jammu, Police Headquarters, Gurugram, along with Ambience Group gave full support to the All India Kashmiri Samaj.
Other dignitaries present on the occasion were Mahesh Giri from M. G. Estate, Dheeraj Kapoor, Cricket Promoter, Gurugram, Ajay Pandita, General Secretary, KKS Gurugram, Rajesh Gill Former Ranji Player, Chief Prosecuting Officer & In-charge of the Jammu Rising Stars team, and Madan Mohan, Coach of Jammu Team.
In the opening match Nischay Cricket Academy, Gurugram, defeated Jammu Rising Stars by 5 wickets.
Batting first Jammu Rising Stars scored 102 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in the stipulated 25 overs. The main scores were Musaif 37 runs, Kannav 21 runs and Rohan Gill 19 runs. From the bowling side Aryaan took 3 wickets, Amaan and Saksham shared 1 wicket each for the team.
In reply, Nischay Cricket Academy chased the target in 23.2 Overs for the loss of 5 wickets with Gullai scoring 26 runs, Dev 14 runs and Shevak 13 runs. From Jammu Rising Stars, Sachin took 3 wickets.
Ayraan from Nischay Cricket Academy was declared man of the match for 3 wickets in 5 overs, conceding 13 runs.
In another match, Nischay Cricket Academy blues defeated Jammu Rising Stars.
Batting first Nischay Cricket Academy Blues scored 169 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 30 overs. Raj Verma scored 76, Ankgrish 41 and Aman 22. From bowling side, Aditpal took 2, wickets, Nalin took 2 while Praful and Ashim shared 1 wicket each.
In reply, Jammu Rising Stars were bundled out for merely 84 runs. Musaif 25 and Rohan Gill 16 were the main batsmen, while no other batsman reached double figures.
From Bowling Side, Aryaan took 5 wickets,Dharya took 2 while Pratham and Arjun shared 1 wicket each.
Aryaan was declared man of the match.
The tournament was won by Gurugram stars by winning their last league match on 20 June 2017.
Dr D Suresh, Divisional Commissioner and former Ranji Trophy Player, was the chief guest, who distributed the trophies and gifts among the participating players in presence of Vijay Aima, President AIKS; Rajesh Dhar, Chairman Media Committee JKCA; Ajay Pandita, General Secretary KKS Gurgaon; Rajesh Gill, former Ranji Trophy Player; Rohit Hashia, Cricket Promoter; Pankaj Dhar; Meenakshi Dhar, Captain of Women Sharda Cricket Club; Sunil Koul; Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS and Madan Mohan, Coach of Jammu team.
Dr Suresh while speaking on the occasion congratulated the organizers for holding this mega event with an objective to promote Youth Integration through sports.
He said to excel in any field, one needs to be dedicated, determined, focused and goal oriented.
Earlier, Mr Aima while presenting brief report of the Series said that the main motive of the event was to provide ample opportunity to the budding cricketers of Jammu and Gurgaon to hone their skill at a bigger circuit and be ready for the events to be held at higher levels, besides promoting youth integration.
Rajesh Gill presented vote of thanks.
AIKS Team, alongwith Priti Sapru, Punjabi actor, met Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, PMO, on 1st June 2017 and urged him to take immediate steps in tracing out the missing cop, Sameer Bhat, whose parents are staying in Gurudawara in pathetic condition, running from pillar to post, to trace out their son.
Dr. Singh, assured the delegation that his family will be provided with security and support. The team apprised Dr. Singh that entire KP community is worried over the sudden disappearance of the cop. Dr. Jitendra Singh also assured the delegation that the State Police will leave no stone unturned to go to the bottom of Sameer Bhat disappearance.
All India Kashmiri Samaj and Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch, in a well-attended ceremony, felicitated Shri Ajay Bharti, the newly elected member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council, on 21 May 2017, at Deen Dayal Research Institute, Jhandewalan, New Delhi.
The programme was presided over by Dr. Jitender Singh, Minister of State, in the Union Government. Those who spoke on the occasion included many prominent members of the community, representing various organizations from different places.
Dr. Jitender Singh, in his address, congratulated Ajay Bharti on his election. He emphasized that Shri Ajay Bharti represents Kashmir Valley in the Legislative Council, which in significant, keeping in view the existing political situation in the State/country. He further added that Kashmiri Pandits will continue to remain relevant to Kashmir at all times and that the Government was committed to their safe return to Kashmir with dignity and honour.
Shri Vijay Aima, President, AIKS, in this brief speech, said that it will be in the interests of the community if all our groups, organizations and associations come on one platform. He said that each organization can continue to have their individual agenda, but on issues, where consensus exists, we must have a common programme.
Shri Ajay Bharti, in his reply during the felicitation, said that he is only a symbol of the struggle of our community, which produced numerous stalwarts who worked tirelessly for decades. Most of them rendered a yeoman’s service without expecting any rewards. Their only concern was to render assistance to the beleaguered community, in ameliorating their pathetic conditions in camps.
He further said that he was available at all times to the Biradari and would try his best to be of use to anyone needing his assistance, individually or collectively.
Shri Sanjay Ganjoo conducted the proceedings in a clock-work precision. He ensured that the programme remained interesting and everyone got a chance to have his say. Besides introducing Shri Ajay Bharti to the audience, he reminded the latter about his added responsibility in his new role as an MLC. Others who spoke on the occasion also included Sarvashri M. L. Malla, Utpal Kaul, Ashok Pandit, Dr. Romesh Raina, Prof. B. B. Dhar, Prof. C. L. Sapru and others.
At the end of the programme, a collage of pictures, detailing numerous aspects of various activities in which Shri Ajay Bharti had taken part over the years, was presented to him by Dr. Jitender Singh.
AIKS has been supporting several initiatives for the betterment of youth. One such initiative aimed at directing energy of young members of the community toward improving their physical fitness has received support from AIKS for the past many years.
On 26th March 2017, AIKS donated one more physical fitness machine, costing Rs. 33,000/- to Orzu Gym at Jagati township
A team of AIKS office bearers including Shri Vijay Aima, President, Shri M. L. Malla, Sr. Vice President, along with prominent community members, Prof. Ashok Aima, V.C Central University, Jammu, Shri Vijay Bakaya, Shri Raj Nehru, V.C., Vishwakarma Skill Development University, Haryana, Shri C. L. Sadhu, activist and Col. G. K. Raina handed over the machine to the team members of Orzu Gym at a solemn function.
We are confident that the youth residing in Jagati Camp will be able to improve their well being at this facility.
A series of programmes were held at Jagati Township on Sunday, 26th March 2017, by AIKS/AIKS Trust, primarily for the benefit of students living in the township. These included provision of free coaching/tutorials to needy students. The coaching initiative was inaugurated by Ms. Priya Sethi, Minister of State for Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, etc. of the J&K State. In the initial phase, coaching will be provided for students of 11th and 12th standard in Science Stream and classes will be held at Govt. Higher Secondary School, Jagati township, Nagrota. Once this scheme is streamlined, it is proposed to extend the coaching to students of 9th and 10th standards and also to those undergoing education in commerce stream in a phased manner. Apart from augmenting the formal education of deserving students, it is aimed at providing good quality coaching near their homes. Otherwise, most of them have to travel to Jammu City for the same. The classes will be held after the normal school timing.
On this occasion, scholarship were also handed over to students on merit-cum-means basis. These students were selected from 6 camp School at Jagati and some private ones located at Jammu, after a formal screening process was carried out. A team of educationists and experts received applications from deserving students and undertook verifications so that scholarships reach the deserving candidates.
In collaboration with Helpline Humanity, free books were distributed to the students; second time after a similar free distribution of books three of months ago. The fresh distribution helped AIKS to include larger number of students, who benefitted under this programme.
The programme was attended by a large number of students, their parents and a galaxy of community leaders and stalwarts. These included Sarvashri Moti Kaul, Vice President, BJP, J&K State Unit, Surinder Ambardar, MLC, Shri Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor, Central University, Jammu, Vijay Bakaya, Political Advisor to Dr. Farooq Abdullah, President, NC, Raj Nehru, Vice Chancellor Vishwakarma Skill Development University, Kiran Wattal, Col. G. K. Raina, M. K. Bangroo, Raj Kachroo, President KKS Gurgaon, C. L. Sadhu and M. K. Bhat, etc.
AIKS was represented by Shri Vijay Aima, President, Shri M. L. Malla, Senior Vice President, Shri A. K. Raina, Vice President, Shri Vijay Kashkari and Shri Aryan Ramesh and others.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Vijay Aima gave the audience a glimpse of various projects and programmes being implemented by AIKS for the welfare of the community, particularly those for students, youth & womenfolk.
The Minister, while appreciating the initiatives of AIKS, urged the youth to aim and work progressively for the welfare of the State. She asked students to remember their heritage and culture and participate in ensuring the rich traditions to survive the test of time. She also promised redresal of grievances put forth by people present on the occasion.
Shri Moti Koul expressed concern on the state of Jagati Camp dwelling, which does not fully meet the requirement for which the TRT, Jagati, was conceptualized. He stated that AIKS has taken up a challenge and hoped that it will follow up with zeal. He further appealed to other organizations to come forward and join AIKS in mitigating the hardships of camp dwellers and asked the Minister to undertake more programmes under PPP model.
Shri Surinder Ambardar described the exodus of the community from the valley as human tragedy and sought inculcation of nationalism as part of education. Shri Vijay Bakaya talked about the opportunities the students can avail and spoke about harnessing the students at young age to prepare them for administrative services.
Shri Raj Nehru spoke about development of Skills as an alternative for traditional education, as this provides scope of employment. He, nevertheless, desired that education should remain an high priority for the community. Shri Ashok Aima highlighted the need for quality education and Shri Kiran Wattal spoke about need to maintain communal harmony.
The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Shri M. K. Bhat.
International Mother Tongue Day was celebrated by the Centre for Kashmiri language, literature and culture (CKLLC), under the aegis of All India Kashmiri Samaj, at Vishwabharati School, Noida on 21st February, 2017. The programme started with a Ganesh Stuti by Shri Mohan K. Monga, followed by a Krishna Joo Razdan’s Leela. Shri A N Kaul Sahib, former Editor in Chief of Naad, welcomed the guests and Biradari members, particularly the children, who had come to attend the programme. He emphasized the importance of mother tongue for survival of the community. Professor Omkar Koul, Chairman of the CKLLC, speaking about the importance of the International Mother Tongue Day, said that it was in Bangladesh where, students protesting against the imposition of Urdu by Pakistan authorities in 1952 were fired upon by police killing four students on 21st February. Later, in 1999, the UN General Assembly decided to celebrate Mother Tongue Day on this day, every year. Prof Koul listed the work done by the Centre for promotion of Kashmiri language during past three years and its future plans. Making available the Kashmiri literature in Devanagri script was one such activity. The Centre took out a Kashmiri Cultural Reader on this occasion. He stressed that every Kashmiri household should have such books, especially Vaakh magazine. Prof R. L. Shant, an eminent scholar and founder editor of Vaakh, in his speech, delved on the importance of Kashmiri language for the existence of our community and presented a roadmap for its preservation. Sh. Kashi Nath Pandita, who was the Chief Guest on this occasion, said that he has taken up the cause of community at various fora and our community should make all out efforts for preservation of our culture. He also spoke about his contributions to Persian language.
There-after, several Kashmiri books i.e., Kashmiri Cultural Reader, a poetry collections of Prem Nath Kaul Arpan, S N Bhat Haleem, Bhajans of Shri Veshn Razdan and a short story collection by Shri Deepak Kaul, were released. Koshur Cultural Reader is a compilation of 26 essays on different aspects of Kashmiri culture, edited by Prof Roop Krishen Bhat. The contributors include S N Bhat Haleem, Arjun Dev Majboor, R. L. Shant, R. L. Jawhar, R. L. Saroor, Ratan Talashi, Roop Krishen Bhat, etc.
On this occasion, All India Kashmiri Samaj honoured the recepients of Padma Shree Sh. KN Pandita and Shri J L Kaul and eminent scholar Shri R L Shant with Kashmir Gaurav Saman. The forenoon prograame was compered by Prof Roop Krishen Bhat.
An important feature of Mother Tongue Day celebration was an orientation session on Kashmiri Language conducted for 30 children of Vishwa Bharti School, by Prof Roop Krishen Bhat and Shri Arvind Shah, The children were given a handout and a set of Kashmiri books. In the afternoon, musical presentations were made by children, led by Vanshika Kaul, the winner of Gaashataarukh. A Kashmiri mushiara was also conducted during the programme, in which several poets, including BL Kaul Deep, Sunita Kher, Roshan Lal Roshan, Jawahar Lal Tikoo Kosam, R N Bhat, Narinder Safayia and Sunita Raina recited their poetries. The Mushiara and children’s programme were organized and presented by Smt. Sunita Raina. Highlight of the programme was establishing a Kashmiri Book Corner at Vishwa Bharti School. Prof. Omkar Koul and Prof Roop Krishen Bhat, Patron and Managing Trustee of KCT, presented a few sets of books to Dr. Vijay Ganjoo, Secretary Vishwa Bharati School, on behalf of the Trust. Shri Vijay Aima, President of AIKS, presented cash award, gifts and certificates of participation, to children. Shri M. K. Machama President, Kashmiri Biradari Indrapuram, also gave cash awards to children.
At the end, Col. (Dr) Tej Tikoo, Vice President of AIKS and Editor in Chief of Naad, thanked all the guests Biradari members and School authorities and children, for making the programme a success. He said AIKS is pleased to see the response of our Biradari and shall take all possible steps to promote and preserve Kashmiri language and culture.
A meeting was held at Jammu under the chairmanship of Col. (Dr.) Tej K. Tikoo on December 26, 2016, which was attended by a large number of stake- holders, including some prominent writers and opinion makers of Jammu, to deliberate on issues concerning the promotion of AIKS mouthpiece.
The meeting was presided over by Col. (Dr.) Tej K. Tikoo, Editor in Chief of the Magazine. Other members who attended this meeting included Shri Vijay Aima, President AIKS, Shri Moti Lal Malla, Shri A K Raina, Shri Vijay Kashkari, Shri M K Santoshi, Prof. G K Muju, Shri H.L Wangnoo, Shri Shiban Khaibiri, Shri P. N. Shad, Shri P. L. Wahguzari, Shri Pradeep Kaul Khodbali, Prof. Virender Rawal, Shri M K Jalali, Shri Adarsh Ajit and Dr. Ashok Razdan.
It was stressed that the magazine should cater to different tastes and age groups to make it popular. It was emphasized that NAAD must become financially self sustaining. It was suggested that each member of the editorial board, management and others present, would enrol a few more subscribers each. It was stressed that the magazine has to be run on commercial basis to be economically viable. Matrimonial advertisement and obituaries should be a source of income. There was a feeling that the magazine has started showing some improvement during the past couple of months. Various suggestions, like gifting of the magazine, were made to make its circulation wider. There was a suggestion to raise the annual subscription from rupees three hundred to rupees five hundred and life membership from rupees three thousand to rupees five thousand. However, the suggestion did not receive support from bulk of those present. A serious question was raised by one member about the need for the continue publication NAAD, when funds are not available. It was also suggested that NAAD be published quarterly. However, both these suggestions were not approved.
Various useful suggestions were received and deliberated upon to improve its layout, content and presentation. The objective, eventually, is to turn Naad into a true voice of KP community in its exile. Many suggestions were received to promote Vaakh, the only publication of its kind in the world, to keep KP diaspora tethered to its roots.
The AIKS TRUST is focussing on several projects, covering provision of financial support to the needy and deserving students in Jagti township, proper coaching to these students, encouraging youth to compete in the Civil Services and other competitive examinations, initiative for skill development, etc. As a step in this direction, a highly impressive function was held at the Govt. High school Jagti, Nagrota Jammu, in the afternoon of 26th of December 2016, where text books were distributed among the needy migrant students on behalf of the AIKS Trust. Books, worth more than Rs. One lakh, were handed over for distribution among the migrant students. Dr. Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor, Central University, Jammu, made a personnel contribution of Rs. 50,000/- towards this cause. As part of the scheme, the text books used by one batch of students will be returned at the expiry of the academic session, so that the same can be given to the next batch of students. This would save money and help in purchasing more books and other educational material in future.
The function was held at the community centre, Jagti Township, where Prof. Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor, Central University, Jammu, was the Chief Guest Shri Raj Nehru, Vice Chancellor, Vishwakarama Skill Development University, Haryana, was the Guest of Honour and Shri Vijay Aima, Chairman AIKS Trust, presided over the function. Among others who attended the function were Shri C. L. Sadhu, Prof. G K Muju, Shri M K Yogi, Shri T K Jighasoo, Shri H L Wangnoo, Shri A K Raina, Shri Vijay Kashkari, Shri Upender Ambardar and many others. The audience was full of excited students.
The function was organised by a voluntary group from the township, namely “Helpline Humanity”. This organisation formed by the displaced youth, has been functioning for over a decade and conducts various cultural and sports events in the township for the physical well being of the young boys and girls. They also run a book bank for which it collects books from well wishers. This group shall be working closely with AIKS Trust to undertake similar initiatives in coming days.
The function at Jagti started with the lighting of the lamp and a prayer.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Ashok Aima while appreciating this activity offered all help and guidance to the young boys and girls in their academic career and said that his doors were always open for any help and guidance. Shri Raj Nehru encouraged and advised the children to have big dreams and aims and not to be discouraged while encountering small failures. Giving his own example of having come out from a similar migrant school in Jammu, he explained how he rose to the present position because of his determination and strong will. Shri Vijay Aima too spoke on the occasion and informed the students that AIKS Trust will arrange coaching classes for students of 9th standard from next academic session at Jagti. In addition, career counseling and personality development classes will be organized in Jammu and Jagati by qualified trainers and coaches from NCR.
Further, Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Training Centre is being set up in Jammu to train our youth, Shri Aima announced. After this, books were distributed among students jointly by Prof. Ashok Aima, Shri Vijay Aima, Shri Raj Nehru and other members present. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks.
– Maharaj K. Pajan
Secretary AIKS Trust
A month long cricket tournament ended with the final match being played between Chinar Cricket Club (CCC) and Vochop Cricket Club (VCC) Delhi in which the VCC lifted the trophy by defeating the CCC by 4 wickets. The cricket tournament was organised by the AIKS in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Police Department and the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. The objective of the Cricket Tournament, apart from providing opportunity to KP Cricketers to hone their skills, was social integration within and outside the community. Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, was the chief guest on the valedictory function, who alongwith Kuldeep Khoda, Chief Vigilance Commissioner, J&K, and other dignitaries, distributed prizes among the winners and runner-up teams. Prominent among others present on the occasion were Vice Chancellors Ashok Aima and Raj Nehru, Senior NC leader Vijay Bakaya, Senior BJP leader Moti Koul, IGP, Jammu, Danish Rana and Principal GGM Science College, besides the team of organizers including President AIKS, Vijay Aima, M. L. Malla, Col. (Dr.) Tej K. Tickoo, A. K. Raina, M. K. Pajan, Vijay Kashkari, Shiban Lal Trakroo, Ashinder Koul, Rajesh Dhar, Ajay Pandita, C. L. Suri, Rajesh Gill and Aryan Ramesh.
Earlier, President AIKS, presented a welcome address and gave brief report of the Tournament. He said the objective of holding this event was to involve community youth in sports and allied activities to showcase their sporting talent.
Lifetime achievement awards were given to former legendary cricketers of the State including Late Pran Malhotra, Late Brajinder Singh, Late Kanwal Koul, Mehboob Iqbal, Abdul Rouf, Mohi-ud-Din Mirza and Mukhtar Kanth. Ashinder Koul was awarded a special award for organising the tournament and for his contribution to cricket in the state. JKCA Working committee members namely Dr. Ashutosh Sharma, Sham Swaroop Kalsotra, Shiban Lal Trakroo and Chander Mohan were also honoured on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Dr. Nirmal Singh, lauded the efforts of AIKS for holding this first of its kind of cricket extravaganza to provide platform for community youth to show case their talent. He also appreciated the decision of the AIKS in recognizing the enormous contribution made by some of our veteran players and cricket administrators to the game of cricket in the State in the past, by conferring on them the Life Time Achievement Awards. Such awards were long overdue and AIKS needs to be commended for this gesture. Throwing light on drug menace, Dr Singh said that sports and games are the best medium to help youth not to derail from the mainstream. He said sports builds team spirit and helps create agility. Earlier, in the final match, VCC Delhi defeated CCC Delhi by 4 wickets. Batting first, Chinar Club scored a modest total of 119 runs in the stipulated 20 overs, losing 7 wickets in the process. Sumit and Chander contributed 27 runs each, while Vishal Kant and Sandeep chipped in with 20 and 15 runs respectively. For VCC, Kuldeep took 3 wickets, while Ashish and Arvind claimed 2 wickets each.
In reply, VCC chased the target in 19.4 overs by losing 6 wickets. Ashwani Bhat played brilliant unbeaten innings of 51 runs, while Raman Thaploo and Raj contributed 18 and 17 runs to the total respectively. For CCC, Rahul Koul scalped 3 wickets, while Mintoo and Rohit claimed one wicket each. Ishaan was adjudged as man of the tournament, while Vishal and Arun were named best batsman and best bowler respectively, Raman Thaploo was adjudged as best wicket-keeper, while Praful Dhar, Arvind and Rohan Gill were declared as emerging players of the tournament. The matches were officiated by Amit Gupta, Saleem-ur-Rehman, Sudhir Singh, Sadiq Hussain Malik, Sanjay Raina, Sandeep Manchanda and Vinod Kandyara.
The incoming President of our US affiliate, Kashmir Overseas Association (KOA), Dr. Shakun Munshi Malik, on a visit to India, held a meeting with members of AIKS Executive Committee on 13th December 2016. Those present included S/Shri Vijay Aima, Col. (Dr.) Tej K. Tikoo, Mahraj K. Pajan, Dr. Umesh Moza, Dr. Manorama Bakshi, Vinod Fotedar, etc.
AIKS appraised all present with the role played by the organisation in community affairs based on current situation and explained the plans under execution at Jammu and elsewhere, particularly for the womenfolk and the youth. The programmes are meant to impart appropriate skills to them in order to improve their chances for getting proper jobs in the concerned fields. The rationale behind the current Cricket Tournament being organized by AIKS at Jammu was also explained and was well appreciated by KOA President. On its part, the KOA reiterated their desire to work closely with AIKS in a collaborative manner, so that the benefits derived therefrom are made use of by the needy. The meeting was very constructive and will further strengthen the bonds between the two organizations.
Cricket has been a passion for Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley. As revealed by Mr. Ashinder Koul, Coordinator, AIKS Cricket League, under progress at Jammu, in fifties and sixties of the last century, large numbers of Kashmiri Pandits would play this game and were the founders and members of many of the cricket clubs. He further revealed that three families of Tickoo’s, Pajan’s and Nehru’s were in the forefront of the progress of cricket in the valley. It is said that Pandit Ram Chand Tickoo was the founder member of this game in the valley. Pertinent to mention here that the tournament being played is dedicated to him. Jammu and Kashmir first took part in the Ranji Trophy in 1959-60. R. C. Tickoo played in the Ranji Trophy when he was in forties. Late Mr Tickoo has not only been founder of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir, but also constitution maker of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.
All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) has been organizing cultural and sports activities in NCR. Kashyap Kashmir Sabha (KKS), Gurgaon, an affiliate of AIKS, initiative took the hold a cricket tournament, and AIKS readily agreed to support it.
Till now AIKS has supported KKS, Gurgaon, to host four editions of Kashmiri Pandit Cricket League (KPL, Gurgaon). AIKS was able to get a few corporate houses and eminent sports persons of our community, to support the tournament. Several teams from Jammu, including Jagti tenements, have been participating in the tournament.
As large chunk of the community is living in Jammu, AIKS President,Mr Vijay Aima, was of the opinion than such a tournament be held in Jammu, which will have a greater significance. His perception was that most of the teams of Jammu region and National Capital Region(NCR), by participating at Jammu, will give a chance to our younger generation at Jammu, to interact with each other and provide a platform to our budding sports persons to display their talent, which can help them to play at higher levels also. AIKS executive body unanimously agreed with the President.
In the first phase, the tournament was held on 15th and 16th October,2016, at Gurgaon. The two top teams, as per the tournament rules, qualified for semi-finals, to be played at Jammu.
As a curtain raiser, before the start of the tournament, AIKS held a press conference at Press Club, Jammu, on 18th of November, 2016. A large number of representatives from print and electronic media attended the conference. The media men were informed that All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), an apex organization of Kashmiri Pandits in India and abroad, was organizing a cricketing tournament, namely, AIKS Cricket Cricket League from November 20 at Parade and Jammu University grounds. The teams will play to compete for AIKS- Alcobrew Cup. The participants in the conference, on behalf of President, AIKS, were AK Raina, Vice President, Vijay Kashkari, Convener, Ramesh Aryan Secretary, Ashinder Koul, former Captain J&K Ranji Trophy Team and former Chairman of Selection Committee J&K Ranji Trophy team, Rajesh Dhar, Chairman Media Committee Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) and Rajesh Gill, Chief Prosecuting Officer JKP and former Ranji Trophy player.
The media men were informed about the problems of Kashmiri Diaspora, in particular of displaced Kashmiri Pandits. They were further informed that AIKS has under-taken several projects to empower the community, in particular, socially and economically. Conscious of the facts, AIKS was formulating projects for the youth, such as skill development and sports, adding that this Cricket League is one among these projects. The media persons were further informed that 10 teams were participating in this mega event, including two JKCA affiliated Clubs, namely RCC Srinagar, and WCC Kashmir, and two KP teams from Delhi.
They also informed that Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Advisor to Chief Minister Jammu and Kashmir, would be inaugurating the Tournament, as chief guest on November 20 at 12 noon. Also, that the Tournament, being held in collaboration with J&K Police Department, is being sponsored by Alcobrew, with MG Reality & MG Estate, HORIZON and Socio Welfare International Society as co-sponsors.
On 20th, November, 2016 Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Advisor to Chief Minister, J&K inaugurated the first AIKS Cricket League (AIKS- Alcobrew Cup), in an impressive, well attended and colorful function, at Parade Ground, Jammu. The chief guest was accompanied by Member Parliament, Nazir Ahmad Laway; MLC Surinder Ambardar; Vice Chancellor Skill Development, University Haryana, Raj Nehru; SSP PCR Ashok Sharma; Working Committee Member JKCA, Ankush Abrol; Joint Secretary JKCA, Desh Rattan Dubey and President Parade Sports Association, Vijay Sabarwal, as the guests of honor.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Prof Mattoo lavished praise on the organizers for holding this mega cricketing event, which will help KP cricketers to hone their skill and be ready for matching their class with the players at higher levels. He said that sports activities help channelize the energy of youth in right direction and imbibe team spirit, adding that organizing sports events help in eradication of drug menace in the society and help youth not to derail from the mainstream. Prof Mattoo further said that such sporting extravaganzas serve a twin purpose of helping cricketers to fine-tune their skill and talent, besides being a step forward in bringing peace and harmony to the State of Jammu and Kashmir through the medium of sports. He asked the organizers to conduct more such events. Member Parliament Nazir Ahmad Laway while speaking on the occasion said that the League gave him the opportunity to meet his old Kashmiri Pandit friends involved in sporting activities in Jammu, besides seeing budding cricketers from Pandit committee in action. “Watching young KP cricketers sweating-it-out and vying for the top honors always brings you an ecstatic feeling. Time is not far away that Kashmiri Pandits enjoy same cricketing atmosphere in Valley,” Laway added. Earlier, Vijay Aima, president AIKS welcomed the chief guest and the other dignitaries. K K Khosa, President Kashmiri Pandit Sabha and MK Jalali also spoke on the occasion. Prominent among others present on the occasion were MK Dhar, PRO to Chief Minister, Tej Ganjoo. Chairman, DAV Institutions, Jammu, Prof A. N. Sadhu and Prof G. K. Mujoo.
The proceedings of the programme were conducted by Rajesh Dhar, Chairman Media Committee JKCA.
The inaugural match was played between Whites Cricket Club (WCC) Srinagar and Sharika Cricket Club (SCC) Jammu, wherein WCC emerged as winner beating SCC by a big margin of 117 runs.
Earlier, batting first, WCC scored a big total of 164 runs in the stipulated 20 overs. Susheel top scored with 55 runs. In reply, SCC were bundled out for 47 runs, thus losing the match by a big margin of 117 runs. For WCC, Harish was the pick of the bowlers, scalping 3 wickets by conceding just 12 runs in his 4 overs. The match was officiated by the BCCI Panel umpires Sudhir Singh and Saleem-Ur-Rehman, while Sandeep Manchanda maintained the scorebook. The final match for AIKS- ALCOBREW CUP will be played on 25th of December, 2016 at Jammu.
A protest demonstration was held on July 19, 2016 at Teen Murti Marg, in New Delhi under the auspices of the All India Kashmiri Samaj, in which a large number of exiled Kashmiri Pandits and people from other organizations and parties participated. The protest was against Pakistan’s gross interference in the internal affairs of India, as also its open support to well known terrorists and their sympathizers in Kashmir. A good number of women members holding placards with messages against Pakistan and Kashmiri separatist leaders, joined the protest march. A full throated sloganeering against Pakistan and in support of our security forces in Kashmir, were the main features of the protest.
However, due to restrictions imposed on public assembly on Shanti Path and surrounding areas, particularly in front of Pakistan High Commission, the local police did not permit any protest in these areas. However, a Memorandum was submitted to Pakistan High Commission by a delegation of AIKS.
The memorandum to Pakistan High Commission said inter alia that the Kashmiri Pandits displaced from Kashmir in 1989-90, by the radical elements sponsored by that country, have been appalled to see the violent upsurge in Kashmir during the past two weeks. The whole of India is distressed to see our community members in Kashmir, pilgrims to holy Amarnath Cave and other nationalistic forces in Kashmir being subjected to stoning, threats, etc., during this period. In fact, some of our community members have already left the Valley under grave threat posed by terrorists, the Memo added.
Pakistan has once again succeeded in mobilizing the radical elements and armed terrorists in Kashmir, led by separatist Hurriyat Conference, to create disturbances in Kashmir, just when the holy ‘AmarnathYatra’ had begun and the return of our displaced community to Kashmir was being considered seriously.
The Memorandum went on to state that the Pakistan – sponsored anti-national protests have paralyzed the Valley, “throwing its normal life out of gear. Statements coming out from the official organs of Pakistan make it abundantly clear that Pakistan continues to use its proxies in Kashmir to implement its nefarious designs in the Valley”.
The barrage of venomous propaganda unleashed by internationally proclaimed terrorists like Hafiz Syed and Syed Sallah-u-din and their supporters in Pakistan, with the active connivance of the Government of Pakistan, are clear pointers to the machinations of that country to prevent normalcy from taking roots in the Kashmir Valley. The uncalled for comments made by Pakistan’s Minister of Defence against India and its duly elected Prime Minister, are evidence enough that Pakistan will go to any extent to communalize the environment, not just in Kashmir, but also in the rest of our country. The statements made by no less than Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, eulogizing known terrorists belonging to proscribed organizations, are as provocative as deplorable.
The Memorandum concluded: “We are, therefore, holding a peaceful demonstration today to protest against Pakistan’s continued interference in our internal affairs and appeal to your Government, through you, to desist from inciting trouble and violence in Kashmir, with the objective of keeping the pot boiling in Kashmir Valley, at the cost of ordinary people of Kashmir and its youth”. There was ample presence of the media to cover the event. – Naad Bureau
Apparel, Made-ups and Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council (AMH SSC) is a body under National Skill Development Council (NSDC) and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship formed as one of the sector skill councils under Skill India programme. AMHSSC and AIKS came together with the objective of creating skilled industry ready workforce in J&K since the need arose to empower the displaced community families and skill them to start earning decent livelihood and take care of their families.
A MOU was signed at Gurgaon on 10 July between AMHSSC and AIKS to train 1000 women of Kashmiri Pandit families staying in Jammu camps and elsewhere. Under the programme, these women will receive training and certification under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY). It also covers helping creation of clusters of such trained and certified women and connect them with the industry so as to enable them to earn decent livelihood. Later, ladies who wish to start their own business would be facilitated to secure loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna from banks.
It is pertinent to mention here that one batch of 60 trainees completed basic training programme at Jagati in April 2016 and received the requisite certificates under PMKVY and successful completion of this trial programme resulted in extension and signing of the MOU.
As part of the understanding, AIKS is responsible for mobilisation of women to be trained and certified, organisingspace where training will be imparted and coordination with Training Partner of AMH SSC for training assessment and certification whereas AMH SSC and their designated training partners will undertake training, assessment and certification of the trainees.
This programme is unique for the KP community and will greatly empower womenfolk with skills resulting in better livelihood and dignity. The fresh batch of ladies has been identified with a local partner and training will commence shortly at Jagati township.
In view of the outbreak of violence in Kashmir following the death of some heavily armed militants including terrorist Burhan Wani, in an encounter with security forces in Kashmir, lives of Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley were suddenly exposed to severe threats.
A delegation from AIKS led by Shri M L Malla, Sr Vice President, called on DrJatinder Singh, MOS PMO, at his office at North Block on July 11, and sought his intervention to ensure the security of community members living in Kashmir Valley particularly in camps at Haal, Vessu etc. A Memorandum was submitted to PMO and the Union Home Minister which urged the Union and State governments to take all measures necessary to ensure safety of Kashmiri Pandits presently in the valley. The memorandum stated inter alia that, at a time when the demand for the return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits was gaining momentum and Central and State Governments appeared serious to address this demand, large scale violence let loose at this juncture by radical elements,aided and abetted by Pakistan, was aimed at putting the issue once again on the back burner. Further, notwithstanding the public posturing by separatists, the truth is that they do not want Kashmiri Pandits to return to the valley. The threatening and stoning of the minuscule,Pandit population coupled apart from stoning of AmarnathYatra pilgrims, is further proof of the separatists designs.
DrJatinder Singh assured the delegation that Union Government, the Home Ministry and Security agencies are taking all steps to ensure the security and protection of Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley. He also stated that extra security forces were deployed for their protection as soon as reports of stone pelting were received. He further assured that he was in touch with Union Home Minister ShriRajnath Singh and security agencies to ensure security of the community.
A copy of the Memorandum was also submitted to Union Home Minister and MsMehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir.
Other members of delegation were Col (Dr) Tej Tickoo, Sanjay Sapru, Vinod Fotedar, Raj Nehru and Maharaj Pajan.
In line with the stated initiative from AIKS of holding interactive sessions periodically with the community stalwarts in small groups to discuss current developments impacting the community, AIKS held one such meeting on 3rd July at J N Koul Memorial Hall, KECSS, Pamposh Enclave. Among those who participated were Sarvashri Ashok Bhan, SushilPandit, H L Wangnoo, Dr B B Dhar, Ashok Ogra, A K Monga, besides AIKS team comprising Shri Vijay Aima, Col. Dr. Tej Tickoo, Vinod Fotedar, Raj Nehru and Maharaj Pajan.
Since the meeting was held prior to the outbreak of violence in the valley consequent to elimination of terrorist BurhanWani, most of the deliberations centred around pre-violence phase. However, the complexity of the problem and personal experiences of some participants who had travelled to the valley recently were also discussed threadbare.
AIKS will continue to hold similar deliberations with more community members in other areas of the NCR.
President AIKS, Shri Vijay Aima, paid a visit to Jammu for about 3 weeks and held several meetings with various sections of the community including social organisations, youth members, community stalwarts etc to get a firsthand understanding of the current issues confronting the community particularly in the light of recent disturbances in the valley.
Highlights of these key deliberations are as under:
a) Meeting with Kashmiri Hindu Sabha (KHC)
Accompanied by Shri Vijay Kashkari, ShriAima met key members of the KHC, led by Advocate M L Thusoo, Sarvashri Pyarelal Budgami, K L Ganjoo and M L Daftari. Apart from other matters, AIKS briefed them about the initiative of skill development programmes under implementation and planned for the near future.
b) Meeting with Sharika Peeth Sanstha.
Shri M K Jalali, President,Sharika Peeth Sanstha, accompanied by Sarvashri R L Sus, C M Kashkari and K L Bakaya, presented a report on the activities of the Sanstha and their future organisational programmes. They expressed their willingness to offer space within their premises for conducting skill development programmes of AIKS for community members residing in Jammu, a gesture highly appreciated by AIKS.
c) Kashyap Educational, Economical and Charity Society (KEECS)
Taking stock of the first collaborative Skill Development Programme held jointly by KEECS, AIKS and Apparel Skill Development Council where 60 women received training, assessment and certification, details of the next batch planned to be taken up at Jagati were deliberated upon. Modalities for future joint working under a MOU were concluded.
d) Collaboration with Radio Sharda.
Discussions revolved around the current and future programmes of AIKS, return and rehabilitation of community and other matters. It is heartening to note that Shri Ramesh Hangloo, MD, Radio Sharda not only applauded the efforts of AIKS but also assured complete media support in future.
Shri Bihari Kak, leading broadcaster and theatre personality, also met Shri Aima and discussed how the two organisations could work together for the welfare of KP community artistes who are currently facing discriminatory policies from the State government.
e) Meeting with Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM)
JKVM team led by its President,Shri B L Bhat and accompanied by Dr R L Bhat, Shri H L Bhat and Shri Ashok Kangan, spoke about AIKS relationship with various KP organisations and discussed many pressing matters with Shri Aima. Shri Aima explained to them at length about the objectives of AIKS which was appreciated. AIKS sought co-operation from JKVM for community welfare activities. Supporting activities for protection of religious shrines and temples in the valley was also deliberated upon.
f) Meeting with Kashmiri Pandit Sabha (KPS) Jammu.
Shri K KKhosa, President KP Sabha and his entire Executive team, an affiliate organisation of AIKS, deliberated on the ongoing programmes of AIKS and, in particular, those related to skill enhancement, education and scholarships to deserving students. Shri Aima explained the module followed for proposed projects and the responsibility of affiliate organisations for achieving common goals.The meeting concluded satisfactorily.
g) Visit to TRT Migrant Camp Roop Nagar.
A meeting was held with President of the Camp, Shri T K Koul and his team and they were apprised of the skill development programme being undertaken which will help KP women to get empowered and benefitted economically. The residents were advised to identify such potential beneficiaries and they assured of their cooperation.
h) Proposed sports competition.
President AIKS interacted with office bearers and captains of community cricket clubs in the presence of Shri Ashwinder Koul, renowned player, and announced that a Cricket Tournament was planned to be held at Jammu from 22nd to 25th December 2016, where teams from J&K state and outside would participate. AIKS will take necessary steps to make the tournament a grand success as such an event will strengthen bonds among youth across locations.
In this connection, Shri Aima also held meetings with Shri Danish Rana, IGP Jammu and follow-up meetings with Shri Ranjeet Kalra from J&K Sports Council and Shri Rajesh Gill, CPO, J&K Police and sought their support. President AIKS also interacted with office bearers and captains of community cricket clubs in the presence of Shri Ashwinder Koul of J&K Sports Council regarding the Cricket tournament. AIKS will closely follow up to make this tournament a grand success.
i) Interaction with community stalwarts.
Eminent community thinkers and stalwarts including Prof A N Sadhu, S/Sh K K Khosa, M K Jalali, Behari Kak, Bushan Lal Bhat, P L Koul Budgami, S K Khaibri, T N Koul, Ramesh Hangloo, P N Goja, Kashmiri Lal Bhat, Ashwinder Koul, B L Saraf and Dr Arjan Nath Pandit, Shri Moti Koul, along with AIKS members S/Sh Vijay Aima, Vijay Kashkari and Aryan Ramesh held deliberations on issues confronting the community and AIKS shared details of progressive programmes undertaken by them for community welfare. All the participants shared their views on many matters and broad consensus on approach was arrived at. In substance, the meeting was very useful and productive.
Shri Aima thanked all participants and assured them that AIKS would continue interacting with community members of various shades of opinion on all matters of common concern.
j) Meeting with P N Bhat Memorial Trust.
A fruitful meeting was held with this Trust and the need for persistent efforts for protection and preservation of temples and shrines with the concerned authorities at Central and State level was discussed as they represent our unique culture and heritage. While Shri Kashmiri Lal briefed the meeting about the programmes of the Trust, he also sought help from AIKS for a programme at All India level. The purpose is to highlight how the bill on protection of temples and shrines had reached the voting stage in the State Legislature, how it was referred to a select committee and how it finally lapsed with the expiry of the term of previous Legislative Assembly.Others who spoke included Dr A N Pandita, Sarvashri S K Khaibri, M K Jalali and B L Bhat. In his remarks, Shri Aima appreciated the good work undertaken by the Trust,assuring it of AIKS support in their endeavours.
k) Meeting with Shri B BBhat, President, Zeshta Devi Sabha.
This important meeting with Shri B. B. Bhat focussed on all issues confronting the community in Kashmir Valley with special reference to uncertainty faced due to recent disturbances. Both sides agreed to work with other Trusts in valley as well as with P N Bhat Memorial Trust for the protection and preservation of community temples and shrines and their assets in the valley.
l) Meeting with Relief Commisisoner, J&K Govt.
President Vijay Aima with other AIKS team members, discussed issues confronting the KP employees who were forced to leave Kashmir Valley due to deteriorating and uncertain situation existing there currently with the J&K Govt. Relief Commissioner, Shri R K Pandita and sought his help for them.
They also apprised the Relief Commissioner about variousprogrammes being implemented by AIKS in and around Jammu settlements and sought collaborative support from him for successful implementation of these programmes, including skill development training, which will help underprivileged sections of community in securing livelihood opportunities. The Relief Commissioner assured of his support in these endeavours of AIKS.
M) Visit to Jagati Township.
Two meetings were held at Jagati township with social activists Sarvashri Pintooji and Ajay Bhat, residents of the township.Both the activists actively participated in the discussions with their team members. Details of problems faced by the community at TRT were intimated to AIKS which assured them these that would be taken up with the concerned authorities.Both the activists assured of their full support for successful completion of ongoing and future programmes of AIKS, particularly for skill upgradation.
The President also took out time to witness a cricket tournament underway at K C Sports Club ground where several cricket clubs of the community were participating.
N) Meeting with Nagadandi Trust.
AIKS team led by the President held a meeting with Shri Ashok Ogra, President, Nagadandi Trust where the latter appreciated the work done by AIKS in various areas and assured his full support as and when required.
o) Meeting with the lawyers.
A follow up meeting was held with the team of community lawyers who are following up AIKS PIL which has been referred by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and is awaiting hearing.
P) Meeting with Panun Kashmir.
In an effort to reach out to all sectors of our society, a meeting with a team of Panun Kashmir, comprising of Dr. Agnishekar, Dr. Ajay Chrungoo and Shri Kuldeep Raina was convened by AIKS President Shri Aima to discuss ways and means of collaborating in social services sector. The meeting was very cordial.
Underlining the role of skilled workforce in society, J&K Minister of State for Tourism, Education, Technical Education, Culture, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks, Smt. Priya Sethi said on May 2, that the country has one of the largest workforce in the world and skilled younger generation can take the nation to new heights of development. She was addressing a function at Jagti township near Jammu, organized by All India Kashmiri Samaj and NGO partner Kashyap Educational Economical & Charitable Society, in collaboration with Apparel Sector Skill Council of India, held in connection with certification programme for first batch of 60 displaced Pandit women from the township. The training was imparted in the tailoring and cutting under Skill Development Programme.
According Ms Sethi, it was a matter of pride that women of the State have come forward to join the skill development mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. MLC Surinder Ambardar, Vice-Chancellor, Central University, Jammu Prof. Ashok Aima, CEO, Apparel Sector Skill Council, Govt. of India Dr. Roopak Vashistha, Shri Moti Koul, State Vice president BJP, Shri K K Khosa, President KP Sabha Jammu and Senior Vice President AIKS, Shri Raj Nehru,Vice President Concentric, Shri Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS and many prominent members of the community were present on the occasion.
Underscoring on women empowerment in society, the Minister said that the State Government has launched a number of schemes for empowering women and skill development can go a long way in ensuring financial independence to these women. She advised the successful women to start their own ventures individually or in groups to exploit the skills learned during the programme. “The first step taken by the women of Jagti Migrant Township is a giant leap forward and we’ll ensure that industrial units and private organisations utilise their skill,” she added. MLC Surinder Ambardar congratulated the organizers and hoped that more such programmes will be organized in the near future to empower the women workforce.
In his address, Dr. Roopak Vashistha informed that the level 4 training imparted to the participants entitles them to an international certification of the level of 10+2 and also makes them eligible for level 5 and upwards.
A meeting of the Board of Trustees of AIKS Trust was held on 12th April, 2016, at J. N. Kaul Memorial Hall, KECSS, B-36, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi. The meeting, attended by members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and special invitees, was presided over by its Chairman, Shri M. K. Kaw. The meeting began with the presentation of Manager’s Report, which was unanimously adopted after a brief discussion. It was followed by presentation of the audited statement of accounts and balance sheet from 2008-2009, till date (audited by K.S. Gupta & Company, Chartered Accountants). The accounts were unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees (see Annexures). A brief discussion took place on the necessity of resource mobilization for the Trust, so as to make it more responsive to the needs of the biradari.
The follwing persons attended the meeting:
Members of the Board of Trustees:-
1. Shri M K Kaw (Chairman AIKS Trust)
2. Shri Vijay Aima President AIKS (Trustees)
3. Shri L C Kaul (Member)
4. Romesh Raina (Manager, AIKS Trust)
1. Prof B B Dhar
2. Ldr. (retd.) B L Sadhu
3. Col (Dr.) Tej K Tikoo
4. Shri Rohit Dhar
Shri M. K. Kaw, in his concluding remarks, thanked the members of BoT and the special invitees for making the meeting productive and meaningful by their participation. He briefly dwelt upon some of the initiatives of the Trust during his tenure as Chairman (2012-16), as outlined in the Manager’s Report. He also assured them that in the interests of the Trust, all the suggestions and inputs received during the meeting, would be incorporated in the action plan.
Shri M. K. Kaw then nominated Shri Vijay Aima as the new Chairman of the AIKS Trust, in keeping with the convention and practices of the Trust. He requested Shri Vijay Aima to relieve him of his responsibililities as the Chairman, which he had been carrying on till date.Shri M K Kaw thereafter formally introduced Shri Vijay Aima to the members of the Trust.
Shri Vijay Aima, the newly nominated Chairman, expressed his gratitude to Shri M. K. Kaw and other members of the BoT for entrusting him with the responsibilities of the AIKS Trust as its new Chairman. He assured every one that he would endeavour to do his best to come up to the expectations of the members. He solicited continued co-operation of members and guidance from Shri M. K. Kaw to meet the aims and objectives of the Trust.
Shri Aima concluded by declaring that the meeting of AIKS Trust Governing Council would be convened shortly to elicit their views and opinions in order to make the Trust more meaningful to the community.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair and expression of gratitude to the management of KECSS for their hospitality and provision of the logistics support for the successful conduct of the meeting.
Dr. Roopak Vasishtha, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Apparel Made-Ups & Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council, Government of India, inaugurated a six-day training program for the displaced Kashmiri Pandit women at Jagti township near Jammu. The program launched by All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) and Kashyap Educational, Economical & Charitable Society (KEECS) in collaboration with APPAREL Sector Skill Council, is a part of their ongoing effort to promote Prime Minister’s Skill Development programs for displaced community.
The program targets to train 60 displaced women from Jagti, as a part of the pilot batch, for the various skills envisaged under the Apparel Council’s Skill framework. The training is based on industry demands of different segments of this sector where women from the displaced community will be trained and assessed under the Recognition of Prior Learning Level (RPL), and on successful completion and assessments,will be certified by accredited assessment agency of Government of India. With this certification, the womenfolk from the camp would besupported by the Apparel Council and encouraged to start a cluster based community group that can be self sustainable for generating self earning opportunities for the women folk. The program also empowers women to take initiatives for experimenting with entrepreneurial work with support of amicro financingprogram. The Apparel Council will help the certified women by connecting them with the garment and apparel manufacturers for work orders that will help the clusters to be revenue generating and enhance their economic prosperity without dislocation,it will be carried out in phases.
The program was inaugurated withthe ceremoniallighting of the lampby the Chief Guest, Dr. Roopak Vasishtha and Guest of Honour Shri Moti Kaul, Vice President, J&K State BJP. The keynote address was presented by Mr. Raj Nehru, a business human resources leader and Secretary AIKS. In his keynote address he explained the objectives and various dimensions of Skill Development that has potential and propensity to transform the youth and women of the community and take charge of their future by leveraging the schemes of the governments. Shri Moti Kaul talked about Prime Minister’s ambitious vocational educational program for “Skill India’ mission and how such initiatives can prepare the KP community for eventualities and lead their future with dignity and pride. For the first time since our exodus, a structured program has been initiated at Jagti and this can be a game changer in generating self employment for our womenfolk and youth, said Shri Kaul who also assured the gathering and the organizers that BJP J&K shall fully support their endeavour to change the landscape of the various camps including Jagti. He applauded the far reaching initiatives taken by AIKS for the upliftment of community members.
Shri M. K. Pajan, General Secretary AIKS, highlighted the organizational achievements and future program to develop and support entrepreneurship and how AIKS will facilitate in bringing other sector skill developmentprogram for the displaced community.
Mr. K K Khosa, Sr Vice President AIKS,congratulated the team and in his capacity as the head of KP Sabha, Jammu, offered the infrastructure for conducting this and other similar programs for the community.
Chief Guest Dr. Roopak Vasishtha, in his inaugural address, said that Apparel Sector Skill Council has been launched jointly by the Ministry of Textiles (Govt. of India), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) with primary mandate of enhancing and to build capacities in skill development. He further explained the various programs that are available under the skill development mission and committed that the Council will continue to help facilitate and provide all the support for making this initiative a big success.With a primary mandate of enhancing and to build a capacity in skill development, constituted under Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Developmentboth in the domain of public and private sector.He also appreciated the efforts put in by Kashyap Educational Economical & Charitable Society for implementing Skill development program at grassroot level.
Others who attended the program included Vijay Kashkari, Coordinator AIKS, Ramesh Aryan, Secretary AIKS, Vijay Raina, Ashok Bhat and Bansi Bhat of KEECS. Vote of thanks was presented by Mr. A. K Pandita, President KEECS. He also enlightened the audience with the aims and objectives of KEECS. Ms.Minal Peer conducted the program.
The Centre for Kashmiri Language, Literature and Culture (CKLLC) of the All India Kashmiri Samaj organised the annual International Mother Tongue Day at Lal Ded Centre, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi, on 21stFebruary,2016. Dedicated to the preservation of mother tongue, this day is being celebrated the world over. The daylong celebrations comprised two sessions of a symposium on ‘Status of Kashmiri Language as a Mother Tongue’, a cultural programme and a ‘Kashmiri Mushaira’. The entire ambience was enriched with the aroma of Kashmiri language all through the day.
The programme started with Shri M. K. Pajan, AIKS General Secretary, welcoming all the participants to the function. Thereafter, speaking in the inaugural session, Prof Omkar Koul, an eminent Linguist, Editor of Vaakh and Chairman of CKLLC, said that it was as a result of an agitation launched by the students of Dhaka University, in Eastern Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) against the decision of Pakistan’s federal Govt to impose Urdu as the official language of erstwhile East Pakistan. The students demanded that their mother tongue i.e. Bangla be declared as their official language. This led to several killings at the hands of Pakistani troops in early fifties of the last century, and was the catalyst for their war of independence. Consequently, the UNO decided to celebrate IMT day in 1999.In 2001, UNESCO announced that from 2001 onwards, IMT will be observed internationally. Since then this day is celebrated throughout the world on Feb 21 every year.
Prof. Koul added that Kashmiri community living in exile needed to pay special attention to the preservation of their mother tongue which reflects our identity. He said that in order to popularize Devnagri script for Kashmiri, the CKLLC has started bringing out special publications. While Nund Rishi’s Shruk was brought out last year, this year a book entitled Lal Vaakh was being released. There are many more such publications in the pipeline. Later, Shri M. K. Kaw, former President of AIKS, who was the Chief Guest, released the Lal vaakh compiled by Shri S. N. Bhat Haleem and also a special issue of Vaakh. He complimented AIKS and Prof Koul for their special efforts to sustain the publication of this magazine uninterruptedly for the last ten years. Shri Kaw recalled how he had persuaded the earlier NDA Govt. to establish National Council for Promotion of Kashmiri language on the lines of Urdu and Sindhi and recognition of Devnagri script as an additional script for Kashmiri. However, the move was abandoned at the last stage by the new govt, which took over in 2004. Had that happened, it would have gone a long way in making our mother tongue popular in diaspora. He said that we should continue to work towards that objective. Col. (Dr) Tej K. Tikoo, Vice President AIKS, stressed on the need to promote Kashmiri language and speak it in and outside our homes. Prof Joga Singh, a Linguist from Punjabi University, Patiala, and an MT activist, who had been invited as a special guest, briefed the audience about the importance of imparting education in mother tongue and presented facts and figures in support of his contention, as opposed to English. He proved through his statement that a child learns perfectly in MT as compared to his being taught in any other language including English.
The inaugural session was followed by two discussion-sessions devoted to the status of Kashmiri as mother tongue. The first session was presided over by Shri A. N. Kaul Sahib, Editor- in-Chief of Naad. The post lunch session was presided over by Dr. Tej. K. Tikoo. The speakers were Prof. B. B. Dhar, President KECSS, Prof C. L. Sapru, Shri C. L. Hakhu, Shri Deepak Budki, Prof. M L Sar, Shri Ajay Bharti, Dr. Roop Krishen Bhat, Prof M. H. Zafar, and Shri Rajendar Premi, etc. Shri A. N. Kaul Sahib, in his remarks, said that the celebrations of International Mother Tongue Day the world over, showed the concern of the world over the eclipse of hundreds of mother languages and observed that AIKS had taken up the celebration of this Day since last year and added that we need to promote Devnagri script among our children. Prof. Dhar said that Shuhul Taaph being organised every year by KECSS helps a lot in preservation of our culture and language. He said that to promote readership, AIKS should club Naad and Vaakh together for subscription purposes. Prof Sar and Prof Sapru urged the parents to speak in Kashmiri with their children and shed inferiority complex falsely associated with Kashmiri language. Shri Budki, Shri Hakhu and Dr. Roop Krishen Bhat presented brief write-ups and spelt out some important measures which could go a long way in preserving and promoting Kashmiri language among our children. Shri Ajay Bharti, a senior functionary of JKVM, recalled how Lalita Kaul Sahib Award and music competition Gaasha Taarukh, patronised by JKVM, have popularised Kashmiri among children in NCR region. The programme was anchored by Dr. Roop Krishen Bhat.
This was followed by a cultural programme anchored by popular singer and composer Shri Sanjay Gautam Raina, in which the Gaash Taarukh awardee children, Ritika Raina, Sagar Kaul,Vansh Pandita, and Tania Raina, besides Smt. Sushma Kalla and Shri Gautam himself enthralled the audience with lilting Kashmiri songs and Bhajans. Children were presented with certificates of participation, cash award and the copy of book, Lala Vaakh. This was followed by a Kashmiri Mushaira in which Smt. Sunita Kher, Shri B. L. Kaul Deep, Shri Omkar Nath Shabnam, Shri Fayaz Dilbar, Smt Sunita Raina Pandit and Prof M. H. Zafar recited their poetical compositions which was appreciated by all. The mushaira was anchored by Smt. Sunita Raina. The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Shri M. K. Pajan, General Secretary AIKS.
The one-day programme was attended by a large number of community members, prominent among them being Shri Pankaj Bhan, Editor Miraas, Shri JN Dhar Editor English, Koshur Samachar, Shri Gauri Shankar Raina, Shri Arvind Shah, Shri Rajindar Tickoo, Shri Arun Shalia, Shri M. K. Nirdhan,
Editor Kashmiri, Koshur Samachar, Shri S.K. Kher,Shri Ravi Zadu and Smt. Anjali, etc.
British Member of Parliament from Harrow East, Mr Bob Blackman, was felicitated by All India Kashmiri Samaj at the KECSS complex in New Delhi on 21 Feb 2016. Despite his tight schedule, Mr Blackman spent an hour or so with the community members during the course of its function to commemorate the International Mother Tongue Day. He was accompanied by Ms Lakshmi Kaul, his close aide at the House of Commons and also a well-known KP activist, and the founder of the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society in London.
Bob was very warmly welcomed and felicitated with a bouquet and a memento with the inscription of Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple, Tulmulla, by AIKS President, Shri Vijay Aima. Similarly, Ms Lakshmi Kaul was also felicitated with a bouquet and a memento, by Shri A N Kaul Sahib, Editor-in-Chief, Naad.
In his welcome address, Shri Vijay Aima thanked Bob Blackman for having taken up the cause of Kashmiri Pandit diaspora post their forced exodus from the Valley in 1989-90. He further said that till now, the narrative of Kashmir in Britain had been determined by those who settled in U.K from Mirpur and other parts of PoK, who are not even Kashmiris. “Therefore, it is time that the true story about the displaced Kashmiri Pandits is told to the world” by the largesection of young Kashmiri Pandit exiles who have settled in UK after the nineties, said Shri Aima. Response they received from the law makers like Bob Blackman is encouraging.
In his keynote address, Col (Dr) Tej K Tikoo (Retd), Vice President, AIKS, dwelt on the Indo-British relations of the past 65 years. According to him, the relationship between the two democracies did not achieve the level of robust strategic partnership that it had the potential for. He said that Indo-British relations were held hostage by the geo-political compulsions of the cold war matrix. Dr Tikoo said, “If western world, particularly Europe, is today a bastion of liberal thought and democracy as opposed to Nazi fascism, a large part of the credit should go to India, whose 3.7 million soldiers fought the two great wars, losing over 1.5 lakh soldiers and earning a total of 48 Victoria Crosses. He thanked Bob Blackman for furthering the cause of Indo-British relations and putting the record straight. He also thanked him for having taken up the issue of persecution of Kashmiri Pandits at the hands of radical Islamists and their eventual exodus of from the Valley in 1989-90.
Bob Blackman, in his address, said that it was only after entering public life that he was exposed to the truth about Kashmiri Pandit exodus. He said that Indo- British relations are now looking up and the biggest manifestation of this is that the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, has visited India four times during his Premiership; the maximum number of visits by a British PM to any country. He said that the United Kingdom supports India’s bid to secure a place in the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking about Kashmiri Pandits, he said he was fully seized of their problems and during his present visit, which included a visit to J&K also, he was able to understand their difficulties even better. He said that living conditions in Jagti township were pathetic and unacceptable. Dwelling on the state of Kashmiri Pandits as refugees in their own country, he said, “Kashmiri Pandits qualify to be declared as IDPs (Internally Displaced People), as defined by the U.N. Charter”. “We in the U.K are trying to include the details of those KPs killed in Kashmir during the turmoil, in the proposed holocaust museum to be set up in London.” he observed and added that the accession of J&K to India is final and now onwards in Britain we are trying to call the portion of the State under illegal occupation of Pakistan as ‘Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK)’.
He assured everyone present in the audience that he will continue to work for the betterment of Indo-British relations and educate the common people about the realities of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in 1989-90 and thereafter.
Lakshmi Kaul, in her speech, spoke about the need for each one of us to engage and to understand our individual social responsibility. The plight of KPs is not an alien, third person cause but affects each one of us directly, she said and added that in the UK “the biggest challenge we face is that of identity loss and the misinformation spread by the anti India lobby and propaganda of separatists, which is actively altering the perception and understanding of the exodus”. My role is to rectify this misinformed narrative and in doing so to ensure we have a strong community. We have parliamentarians like Bob who is currently a lone voice on the strong stand on J&K. We need more parliamentarians and academics speaking for us. To do this we need to actively lobby our local networks including our local Councillors and MPs and tell them what happened.
Lakshmi urged everyone to be proud of their roots and change the negative perception of our own selves to a positive one. We have come a long way owing to our resilience. There are still many families living in worst conditions and who at the first opportunities available will return to the valley. Security remains a huge concern.
She announced that with Bob’s support, KPCS will announce 26th Oct as Jammu Kashmir Integration Day and continue to celebrate it for years to come. She said in the UK,she has worked very hard to build the regional voice of J&K and to ensure that people understand that J&K is an integral part of India.
Referring to the first visit to India which she organized for the honourable MP of Harrow East, Bob Blackman has been to J&K. During this visit, he met and interacted with all the various communities and professional groups. He also met members of non displaced KP community and those who have recently relocated on the PM’s package. It has been very insightful to meet and interact with all the various people.
Lakshmi concluded by saying she felt humbled and grateful for the very warm welcome that she has received as the daughter of the soil and feel privileged to have been instrumental in organising this visit for Bob. She expressed gratitude to AIKS for their continued support and encouragement for their work. We have much to do and hope we carry on our efforts, encouraging other communities from India to stand shoulder to shoulder with us.
AIKS hosted Mr Virendra Sharma, a sitting member of House of the Commons, UK, at its office at Sarojni Nagar, on 20th February 2016, while he was on a visit to India. AIKS was represented by its President Shri Vijay Aima and core committee members, Shri M L Malla, Col (Dr.) Tej K. Tikoo, Shri A. N. Kaul Sahib, Shri Maharaj Pajan and Shri Vinod Fotedar.
During the deliberations, AIKS presented a historic perspective and explained the circumstances under which the community was forced to leave their homes and hearths in a ” as is where is position” in 1990, following the planned advent of Jihadi forces in the valley, abetted by Pakistan. A copy of the recent resolution passed at Global Conference at Jammu was handed over to him.
Mr. Sharma elaborated the efforts being made in Britain by him and other well wishers of India to correct the disinformation campaign launched by anti-Indian forces regarding the alleged human rights violations inflicted upon Muslims in Kashmir by Indian Army.
He specifically mentioned that the issue of Kashmiri Pandit community was receiving his support in UK. He also confirmed his continued support to the community and sought help from AIKS towards this objective. A memento was presented to him on the occasion.
The AIKS Global Conference, held on 6th and 7thFebruary 2016, at Jammu, commenced with an interactive session between AIKS executive members and those from affiliate organisations, which was held at KP Sabha, Ambphalla. Representatives from various associations, located across the country at Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh, Ambala, Bangalore, Delhi, Jammu and other locations, including those from the USA and the UK participated in the conference.
The meeting commenced with a welcome address by President AIKS, Shri Vijay Aima, who set the tone of the meeting and explained the reasons for taking stock of issues confronting the KP community in line with the current ground realities. Shri Khosa, President KP Sabha, said that the entire community was enthusiastically waiting for the outcome of the Conference. Shri Moti Lal Malla, Senior Vice President, AIKS, presented a historic perspective of our displacement from the Valley and expressed the hope that the community will return to Kashmir with dignity and honour.
Shri Moti Koul, past President of AIKS and newly nominated Vice President of BJP J&K unit, reminded the audience of the important role played by AIKS regarding community matters and advised AIKS to remain focussed on key issues confronting the community.
This was followed by other participants expressing their opinion and reiterating their full support to AIKS in its endeavours. Those who spoke included Sarvashri H L Wangnoo, Shri Raj Kachroo, AK Monga, Romesh Pandita, Avtar K. Bhat, M K Machama, P L Razdan, H N Jattu,J L Pandita, Vijay Kashkari, Col Tej Tikoo, A K Raina, Vinod Pandita and many others. The Conference collectively debated the matters impacting the community.
Shri Rakesh Koul from New York, representing KOA, USA and Shri Shiban Kotwal from IEKF, UK, provided a global perspective to the proceedings and explained how Kashmiri Pandits living in USA and Europe are actively associated with the KP cause and how the community had progressed in the past 25 years.It was due to this reason that the community today spoke from a position of strength.
The day-long proceedings ended with the adoption of a resolution, full text of which is carried elsewhere in this publication.
The evening cultural programme, held at Police Auditorium, Gandhi Nagar, was attended by over 400 members and commenced with ceremonial lighting of the lamp by AIKS youth team and was followed by a welcome address by Shri Rahul Kilam.
This was followed by a musical programme held under the supervision of music composer Shri Kuldeep Saproo who presented many budding children. Solo songs and duets were presented by Aditya Dhar, Anikait Hashia, Nirmal Koul, Pallavi Koul, Baby Stenzin, Rishab, Shivani Koul, VitashaKoul and Vishal Pandita which mesmerised the audience.
The Vomedh Theatre Group entertained the large gathering with a Kashmiri Play “Dai SinzDaigath” written by Ravinder Dhar and directed by Rohit Bhat and a standing ovation was given to the performing team. This group also presented a Kashmiri Dance number on a song composed by renowned composer Pt Krishen Langoo.
The three-hour entertainment programme, anchored by Kusum Tickoo and Kanwal Peshin, wound up with a vote of thanks by Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS.
On 7thFebruary, a galaxy of community intellectuals, writers, thinkers and stalwarts attended the main Conference which was convened at the Jammu Club.
Shri Vijay Aima, President, AIKS, welcomed the guests and dignitaries and apprised the audience of AIKS objectives, need for holding the present Conference and shared with them the key decisions taken the previous day. The Chief Guest for the occasion, Dr Jatinder Singh, MOS in PMO, could not physically participate in the deliberations as he had to accompany the PM to Orissa. However, through a pre-recorded video, he sent his best wishes to the conference. In this message, he categorically expressed that Kashmiri Pandits would return to the valley and extended full support from the Government of India for their return with dignity and honour.
Shri Surinder Ambardar, MLC, paid glowing tribute to the resilience exhibited by the community over centuries and particularly since 1990. “Return of the community to the valley will lead to restoration of Kashmir’s ancient heritage”, observed Shri Ambardar.
Shri Moti Koul, who presided over the session, refuted the allegations floated by the vested interests about the KP community not being united and reiterated his faith that the community will continue to prosper and return to the Valley sooner than later. He demanded protection of KP heritage, temples and shrines.
Shri Rakesh Koul from KOA, USA, informed the audience that assets worth US $ 3 to 5 billion have gone into the hands of majority community following the exodus of KPs from Kashmir as estimated through a global study. Shri Shiban Kotwal from UK also talked about the assiduous community efforts in Europe in countering the propaganda of human rights violations in theValley, as claimed by anti- India elements.
Others who spoke on the occasion were Shri M L Malla and Shri K K Khosa.
This was followed by a series of presentations by AIKS regarding the on-going projects under implementation in Jagti and Jammu for KP youth and for empowerment of our womenfolk, presentation of updates, on civil writ petition filed by AIKS in Supreme Court of India in 2008 and another presentation on upcoming prestigious community project at Shakti Nagar, Delhi, which is jointly being executed with Kashur Sumchar. A detailed presentation explained how AIKS website aiks.org has been transformed into a communication and information platform. Its usage was explained to the audience.
Dr K L Chowdhury, eminent physician and community stalwart, made a powerful presentation on the health and demographic issues confronting the community since displacement, based on the research conducted at Shribhat Hospital. He presented the stastical data in support of trends of diseases, births and death rates since 1990, and concluded that our birth rate is much below the acceptable level at which the community can sustain itself as adistinct ethnic group.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Col (Dr.) Tej Tikoo, Vice President AIKS.
Thereafter, Informal discussions continued over lunch.
AIKS is conscious of the fact that certain issues concerning our displaced community have, over the past 26 years, become even more complicated than what these were immediately after our exodus from Kashmir in 1989-90. This has been mainly because of the changing political dynamics at the State/Centre and international levels, which impacted Kashmir issue as such, and therefore, our own travails as a displaced community.
Consequently, it will be prudent to place our issues in their proper perspective. Whereas, certain issues are unlikely to get resolved immediately; there are some issues which cannot wait for a solution for too long, as any further delay will only turn them more complicated. It is, therefore, only wise to list our demands in a manner which need to be addressed at the earliest and those which need long term solution.
Long Term Demands
1. The only acceptable option for the KP community’s return is the creation of concentrated settlements for the community. This should be self-sufficient in terms of overall infrastructure, economic avenues, adequate land, decent accommodation, educational institutions, healthcare, recreation centers, commercial infrastructures and security.
2. KP community demands political empowerment in order to protect our identity and promote our socio-cultural interests. As a microscopic minority, we are not in a position to send any of our representatives to the Legislature on our own strength. Therefore, a statutory provision, through which our representatives can become members of the Legislative Assembly/Legislative Council, needs to be institutionalized. This Global Conference demands that adequate reservations for the community, both in the State Legislature and the local bodies, be provided through constitutional guarantees.
3. Govt. of India will have to initiate steps immediately to set in motion the process of declaring the community as Internally Displaced People (IDP), as enunciated by the UN Human Rights Charter.
4. To preserve the ethno-religious identity of this minuscule minority, the Global Conference calls upon the government, both Central and the State, to initiate necessary steps to grant minority status to Kashmiri Pandit community.
Short Term Demands
Several demands have been pending for too long, though mere executive orders from the Centre/State Govt., can meet these demands. These are:
1. The Government must immediately constitute a Commission of Enquiry headed by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India to probe into the circumstances of the KP community’s ethnic cleansing from the Valley in 1989-1990, identify and bring to justice all those responsible for it.
2. The Global Conference notes with concern our repeated requests, made to both the State and the Central Government, to implement the Govt. package in letter and spirit. AIKS once again reiterate the following demands:
The Employment Package has not been implemented in letter and spirit. The unimplemented portion of the Package i.e. 4500 posts should be done in time bound manner in the current financial year. In addition, Special Employment Package should be sanctioned in Central Govt. Dept./PSU’s in similar manner as was implemented in favor of majority community in valley in1990.
Expedite the provision of transit accommodations and immediate steps be taken to construct accommodation worthy of human habitation.
Government should do away with the draconian pre-conditions being placed on those seeking employment through the package. These pre-conditions are highly discriminatory and exploitative in nature.
State Govt. should consider setting up special economic zones with full financial support thus offer business opportunities to displaced over aged youths as they have lost employment opportunity over 26 years.
3. The Global Conference calls upon the Government to take all steps needed to protect all the Temples and Shrines in Kashmir Valley and initiate legal action against those who have destroyed and/or desecrated such temples and shrines. We also demand adequate financial assistance to be provided for their reconstruction and renovation. We reiterate that necessary legislation on the Temples & Shrines must be brought up before the State Legislature on a priority basis.
4. The Global Conference notes with serious concern the manner in which provisions of ‘The J&K Migrants Immovable Property (Stay of Proceedings) Act, 1997’ have been misused and sales of migrant properties have taken place in an illegal manner, despite law, preventing such sales, being in place. The State government is requested to take into its custody all such properties and declare all such sales as null and void.
5. Jagti Township and other transit camps in Jammu and Valley have turned into uninhabitable state. Urgent action is demanded to improve their condition and make them fit for human habitation.
6. The Conference resolve that the displaced community should be compensated properly by the losses suffered by them by way of yield in agricultural and horticultural, trade and commerce and destruction of immovable property during the last 26 years.
AIKS demands that a committee be constituted with representation from Central Govt., State Govt. and KP community, to oversee all the above demands.
AIKS once again resolves to continue our struggle, through democratic and peaceful means, to achieve our ultimate goal of going back to our ancestral land in Kashmir, with dignity and honour, in a secure and safe environment.
A delegation of AIKS, led by its President, Shri Vijay Aima, and comprising of Shri M. K. Pajan, Shri Raj Nehru and Shri Vinod Fotedar called on Dr. Jatinder Singh, Minister of State in the PMO, at his North Block Office on 25th November 2015.
The delegation brought to the notice of the Hon’ble Minister the discriminatory terms and conditions thrust on our youth while seeking employment under the PM’s Package. He was informed that our candidates were required to sign a bond, a prerequisite not enforced on others. Dr. Jatinder Singh was requested to ensure that this exploitative precondition is done away with at the earliest. He was also requested to take necessary steps to improve the working and living conditions of such employees. The delegation requested the Hon’ble Minister to issue directions to the State Government to complete the construction of accommodation for 6000 such employees, as announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently.
The Minister was further requested to provide the Central Government’s moral and financial support for the creation of a Centre of Excellence near the Camp settlements, so that the children from these colonies and nearby areas are equipped with proper skills to face a highly competitive world, on equal terms, in future.
Another important issue discussed related to the protection and preservation of our temples and shrines located in Kashmir. He was explained in detail the ravages these have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous elements. The delegation emphasized the urgency of passing of the ‘Temples and Shrines Bill’, a legislation, which will go a long way in restoring the sanctity of our heritage.
The Hon’ble Minister gave a patient hearing to all the issues raised by the delegation and assured the members that each point would be considered favorably and sympathetically.
A memorandum containing these and other issues brought to his notice was handed over to the Hon’ble Minister.
Brief Introduction to AIKS:
All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) is an apex organization of all Kashmiri Pandit organizations spread throughout the world. Prior to 1989, the organization was mainly involved in socio-cultural issues of Kashmiri Pandits, living mainly outside Kashmir. However, the community’s exodus in 1989-90, changed everything. AIKS got deeply involved with the welfare, relief and rehabilitation of our exiled community. It continues to do so even today.
As the apex organisation of Kashmiri Pandits, AIKS has been in the forefront of our struggle to return to Kashmir with honour and dignity. Some of the issues which need immediate attention from the leadership at the State and Central Government, at the highest level, are given hereunder:-
Exodus from the Valley
Our forced displacement from Kashmir in 1989-90, was the biggest such displacement of a religious minority to have taken place in independent India. This ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus by the Muslim radicals of Kashmir, helped by Pakistan, resulted in the entire Valley being cleansed of Hindu minority, thereby hitting at the very core of India’s standing in the world as a secular, pluralistic society Though, relative peace has been restored in Kashmir and many elections have been held in the State since then, the issue of return of our displaced community to Kashmir still hangs fire.
Issues Requiring Attention of the Govt of India and State Govt:
1. Jagati Township and transit accommodation – The Jagati Township and transit accommodation created for housing of the displaced community members after exodus, requires enormous improvement to make it fit for habitation. Even basic civic amenities in the township are not available, as these are either non-functional or completely non-existent. Radical improvement needs to be made in the provision of health care, education, electricity/ power supply, hygiene and sanitation, water supply, recreation for children, etc. A number of petitions have been submitted to the State Government over a period of time. However, many issues still remain unaddressed by the government. It is requested that the State Government be pushed to address these issues on a priority.
2. Safety and Security of KP employees working in the Valley – The community is deeply concerned on the reports emanating from the Valley, concerning the safety and security of employees who are working in Kashmir in the existing hostile environment, particularly in far flung areas, where they live in constant fear. State Government needs to take immediate steps to address this issue.
AIKS would also like to bring to your kind notice that the service conditions thrust on these employees are inhuman and exploitative in nature. Their service conditions need to be re-written at the earliest.
3. Implementation of pending employment opportunities – Under the PM’s employment package announced by the Govt of India, 6000 jobs were to be provided to the displaced community. Since the announcement of the package in 2008, only 1554 persons have been employed till date. Since this is a Central Govt project, the Centre should step in to ensure immediate implementation of the complete employment package, which has been pending for many years now despite promises made to the contrary. State government must be held accountable to fill the balance posts.
4. Institution of Commission of Inquiry – A Commission of Inquiry must be instituted at the earliest to look into the targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-90, which led to the exodus of the community from the valley. This will ensure that the disinformation spread by vested interests regarding our forced displacement, is exposed and the truth behind our ethnic cleansing is brought out in the public domain. This will go a long way in instilling confidence in the members of the displaced community.
5. Passage of Temples and Shrines Bill – The displaced community is deeply concerned about the safety and protection of the numerous shrines and temples of the community in Kashmir. Since our exodus 25 years ago, a large number of our temples and shrines have been desecrated and many are lying in disused and in dilapidated condition. It is also learnt that some unscrupulous elements, in cahoots with some govt. officials, have sold the lands of these temples, shrines and endowments with the State Govt. turning a blind eye to such nefarious deals. It is reiterated that the protection, safety and well being of these temples/shrines is essential for the survival of our unique cultural identity. Passage of the Temples and Shrines Bill, which is hanging fire for quite some time, would be a very important step in this direction. AIKS urges the State Govt. to have this bill passed at the earliest
6.Resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley – The resettlement of our ousted community back in the valley has been on the agenda of the BJP, and very recently, this stand was publicly re-stated by the Party. AIKS has no doubts on the sincerity of the Govt. which is committed to their return in a dignified manner. AIKS reiterates once again that displaced community be settled in concentrated settlements on return, where they can live in safety, security and with dignity.
AIKS would also like to state that by virtue of representing a very large section of the community, it must be involved in any deliberations in future which will work out the modalities for our return.
New Delhi Vijay Aima
November 25, 2015 President
KP Sabha Amphalla, Jammu was gracious to invite AIKS to hold its Executive Meeting at Jammu on Saturday, 21st November 2015. AIKS responded positively while accepting the invitation. Those who attended the meeting were Sarvashri A. K. Monga, Rohit Dhar, A. K. Raina, Vijay Kashkari, Raj Nehru, Ajay Kumar Pandita, Vinod Fotedar, A. K. Ganju, Jatinder Kaw, Dr. Usha Tickoo, Dr. Manorama Bakshi, Ms. Nancy Ganju, R. K. Raina, K. K. Khosa, Vijay Aima, Moti Lal Malla, Maharaj K. Pajan and Virender Dhar.
The meeting was held in two sessions: interactive session with KP Sabha and Executive Committee meeting.
Interactive Session with KP Sabha.
This important interaction which lasted for over 2 hours, commenced with the recitation of Gayatri Mantra followed by self introduction by all participants and floral presentation to the guests.
Shri Khosa welcomed the AIKS delegates and expressed gratitude to AIKS for holding this meeting at KP Sabha premises. He wasof the view that reaching out to affiliate units like this goes a long way to strengthen the bonds of AIKS with its affiliates. Thereafter interactive discussions were held where issues at organisational and community level were deliberated upon, including return and rehabilitation, protection of temples and shrines etc.
In his address, Shri Vijay Aima, President AIKS, responded to some important issues raised earlier and spoke about a host of initiatives undertaken by AIKS for the youth of Jammu which include skilling, education, career counselling, sports etc for which a platform portal, AIKS.org, has been developed, aimed at wholesome growth and prosperity of the youth particularly those from deprived sections of society who lack proper exposure.
In addition AIKS presented a current status report on Shakti Nagar Community Project in Delhi.The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Shri Rohit Dhar, Vice President, AIKS. This was followed by lunch hosted by KP Sabha.
Executive Committee meeting
The meeting was presided over by Shri Vijay Aima, President. In his opening remarks, the President, besides thanking the participants for travelling to Jammu, expressed profound appreciation to KPSabha for hosting the meeting.
Various agenda items were taken up for consideration thereafter:
– Minutes of the last Executive Meeting held on June 14, 2015. were read by the General Secretary and adopted.
The members deliberated on the forthcoming Conclave being planned to be held on 23rd January 2016 at Jammu. While it was agreed that the strategy document prepared in the last Conclave held in March 2012 will be the basis for deliberations and considering the ground level situation, a fresh declaration may emerge which will be the guideline for future. The organising committee, formed for this event, shall take into account the observations of the members.
To continue celebration of UNESCO-sponsored International Mother Tongue Day which falls on 21st February every year as an annual event, it was decided to hold this year’s event at New Delhi and to request all affiliate organisations to observe this day at their respective locations so that importance of our mother tongue is emphasized on our youth and children and to retain our identity, culture and heritage.
Civil Writ Petition of AIKS in Supreme Court
Brief of the reply filed by J&K Government in response to the order passed by Supreme Court way back in 2010 and 2013, was intimated to members. However, finding the response deficient, AIKS has decided to raise concerns on the reply and seek additional information about certain unexecuted provisions of the package announced under the Prime Ministers Package announced in 2008 which are not included in this reply.
Further, as directed by the Supreme Court, AIKS is submitting representative case details where migrants did not receive justice under the provisions of Distress Sale Prevention Act 1997 and also such cases where the concerned DCs passed order for takeover of certain properties but the tehsildar did not execute such orders which is depriving the community of justice. AIKS thanked affiliate units and individuals who helped in compiling details of various cases.
Review of AIKS Constitution
The affiliate organisations have been approached to submit proposed changes to the present AIKS constitution and they were requested to submit their recommendations. Life members and Patron members will also be approached for suggested changes which will be compiled and submitted to the review committee, when available.
Shakti Nagar Project
It was informed that the JMC is progressing with preparation of plans and drawings with the architect KDC Design Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, who have offered their services free of cost in the interests of the community. The members thanked Shri Vijay Kachroo and Shri Jatinder Kaw, both Directors of the firm, for their commitment and resolve to serve the community.
Promotion of Naad and Vaakh.
With the permission of the chair, Shri Raj Nehru explained various steps being undertaken for improved branding and increasing circulation of these magazines. We hope to capitalise upon the excellent content of both community magazines through steps in progress.
Any other item
On completion of the formal agenda, Shri A K Raina brought to the attention of the chair, a report published by Kashmir University regarding losses suffered in Kashmir floods in 2014 which is helping the flood victims receive monetary compensation from J&K Government. In contrast, no compensation has been considered for KP’s despite the devastation caused to their properties as a consequence of terrorism. In the past even best cases of individuals covered under insurance were paid 50 % of approved compensation and balance was never paid which shows discrimination towards our community.
The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks.
An informative and productive meeting was held with Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust on 22nd November. Commencing with a formal introduction of members from both sides, members of the Trust made a presentation about the background leading to formation of the Trust right from 2007, involvement of AIKS in draft preparation, first introduction of the bill in the J&K Legislature till non-adoption of the bill in 2013. Reason for the Trust insisting on passage of complete bill without any exclusion was also explained.
Both Shri Vijay Aima, President and Shri M L Malla, Sr. Vice President reiterated complete support to the Trust for passage of the Shrines and Temples Bill as done in the past.
This session, lasting over two hours,was attended by over 40 members of community youth to interact with members of AIKS Executive Committee. Shri Rahul Pandita moderated the proceedings in a befitting manner. The speakers were Smt. Promilla Kaul Pandita, Shri Ajay Pandita, Smt Manorama Bakshi, Shri Vinod Fotedar, Shri Raj Nehru, Shri Rakesh Bhat, besides Shri Rohit Pandita. The importance of good quality education from primary school level, need to maintain our cultural uniqueness, socio-cultural and sport events to be conducted to increase contact, promotion of Kashmiri language etc were spoken about with authority.
AIKS explained to the audience what all steps are either implemented or in progress specially designed to benefit KP youth of Jammu and nearby areas which include:
– Career Counselling for students and their parents to expose them to multiple options children can opt for,
– Identification and selection/ monetary support of bright children with aptitude for career in admit sratify services at state and central level,
– AIKS.org as a communication platform for youth where experts from community will respond to their queries,
– Skill development initiatives in multiple sectors including NSDC scheme.
– Platform for cultural and sports events on regular basis.
– Motivational talks to help children identify latent talent and aspiration.
It is pertinent to mention that youth members expressed great pleasure at the concrete actionable direction taken by AIKS and expressed the results will follow.
The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks by M K Pajan.
AIKS, along with Sonu Orzoo, organized a Skill and Career Development Workshop for the students of Jagti in Jammu on 11th September, 2015. The workshop was delivered by Raj Nehru, Head of Leadership Development and Skilling in India for Concentrix.
The workshop focused on various personality development aspects and how an individual can focus on all round development that can help him to facilitate his or her growth as an individual and a professional. The focus was also on how students can choose various streams after class 10th and what careers are available as an individual progresses in his or her academic pursuits. Information about various job opportunities and corresponding competencies and capabilities required to be successful, were shared with the students. The programme turned out to be highly engaging and students raised many questions to seek clarifications. They were highly excited and motivated and felt such programmes and insights must be frequently provided.
AIKS and its volunteers organized yet another useful programme, again under the stewardship of Raj Nehru, who sponsored a memorable sports event at Jagti. The programme was intended at encouraging students to participate in the games and sports and leverage this as a tool of engagement and good health and also to promote positive thinking amongst the youngsters.
Various youths and students participated in the games event, like Football, Kabbadi, and finalists were given the trophies. All the participants were given the T shirts arranged by Concentrix and were later presented with participation trophies as well.
In their effort to help and facilitate the academic pursuits of Suraj, who has been disabled due to an unfortunate accident, keeping in view his physical disability and its obvious impact on his studies, the AIKS Team has arranged for a home tuition for him who will keep him engaged with the academics and also help his morale to stay up. AIKS wishes him all the best for his exams now.
During his visit to USA, Shri Vijay Aima, President AIKS, participated in KOA Annual Camp held in New Jersey in the first week of July. He later attended several meetings with KOA Board members and was also invited to Annual General Body meeting of KOA and the Directors of KOA were informed about the scope and range of AIKS activities. Apart from reiterating the approach of AIKS outlined in Global Conclave in March 2012, welfare activities undertaken by AIKS/KOA were deliberated upon and future plans outlined.
Details of the forthcoming projects are being worked out and will be communicated in due course of time.
To maintain close contact with affiliate members, Dr. Manorama Bakshi, Secretary AIKS, has volunteered to reach out to community members at various locations. During the past few weeks she made efforts to establish contacts with KP Samaj, Jabalpur and physically met members who promised to undertake all efforts to connect 25 KP families living in Jabalpur.
Manormaji also held a meeting with Kashmiri Samaj, Bhopal where S/shri J. L. Shah, Ashish Koul and R. K. Raina promised to reactivate the Samaj and share their activities with AIKS so that Naad can carry the relevant news.
Kashmiri Samaj, Hyderabad was visited next where Shri B. B. Dhar, President and Shri Anil Dhar, Jt. Secretary participated and shared how KPs in Hyderabad were protecting and promoting our cultural heritage. They have promised support to AIKS to meets its objectives.
To help the victims of severe floods and the people who are much below the poverty line, a relief distribution camp was organised by All India Kashmiri Samaj at K P Sabha Ambphala, Jammu. Kashmir Oversees Association (USA) and Children’s Hope India (USA) were the main sponsors of the camp. The relief material included things like solar lanterns, sweaters and woollen clothes.
Addressing the gathering, Pt. Moti Kaul, ex-President of All India Kashmiri Samaj and a senior BJP leader, said that AIKS has played a pivotal role to assist the needy and the flood victims from time to time. He thanked the sponsors for their continued help to mitigate the problems of the needy. ‘We are highly obliged to various organisations and the affiliates who without playing politics or without any publicity, came forward and lent a helping hand in the hour of crisis. We hope that they will continue this philanthropist approach’, said Moti Kaul.
Shri K K Khosa, President K P Sabha Ambphala and Senior Vice President of AIKS, threw light on the historical and the social background of KP Sabha. ‘Since the migration, Sabha has contributed to the cause of Pandit community in various aspects. Keeping in view the burning social and religious problems of the community, the Sabha has always helped the exiled community. Whether in the field of education, or in the field of socio-cultural affairs, the Sabha has never shied away to perform its role’, said Shri Khosa.
Shri Raj Nehru, Secretary AIKS, addressing the participants, stressed on the need for sustained programmes which will benefit the community on short-term as well as long-term basis. “AIKS is always the frontline runner in the cause of Pandits who have suffered a lot during the last twenty-five years”. However, he appealed to the youth to come forward and be part of the programmes of the community initiated by AIKS. ‘Ultimately it is the youth who have to be active to shoulder the responsibilities of the community’ said Raj Nehru.
Shri A K Raina, Vice President AIKS, and Shri Vijay Kashkari, Convenor, threw light on the proposed working pattern of the Jammu unit. They assured the participants that their problems will be highlighted in various forums and the solutions will be evolved.
The programme was conducted by Shri Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS, J & K unit. He also gave the details of the efforts of AIKS in dealing with the community victims of the floods. He also shared experiences of his recent visit to the valley and apprised the meeting about the conditions of the Pandits in the valley.
A delegation of All India Kashmiri Samaj led by Shri Vijay Aima, Vice President, called on H.E. the Governor of J&K, Shri N. N. Vohra at Raj Bhavan on 27th February, 2015 to discuss several issues of core concern to the displaced KP community. Other members of the delegation included Dr. Romesh Raina, Gen. Secretary AIKS; Dr. Usha Tickoo, Convenor Women’s Wing; and Shri Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS. Shri Moti Kaul, senior BJP leader and former President of AIKS, also accompanied the delegation.
A memorandum enlisting the burning issues confronting the KP community in exile was presented to the Governor. Some of the issues raised by Shri Vijay Aima included the urgent enhancement of monthly relief, implementation of employment package, development of infrastructure at Jagati camp, proper accommodation to the employee youth in the valley, and financial package to the displaced traders and businessmen.
Apart from the above mentioned short term issues, Dr. Romesh Raina emphasized on the urgent need for the passage of Temples and Shrines Bill as that was central to the civilizational existence of KPs. Dr. Usha Tickoo pitched for womens’ issues especially some self-sustenance schemes which could yield them and their families some financial support. Shri Aryan Ramesh strongly argued for the aspirations of the struggling KP youth.
Shri Moti Kaul also made a detailed presentation and apprised the Governor about the indifferent attitude of the successive state governments towards the exiled community. He also took this opportunity to applaud the Govt. of India, led by Shri Narender Modi, in consistently reassuring the displaced KPs about its resolve to address all their issues and concerns including the long term demands.
Hon’ble Governor gave a patient hearing to the delegation. He acknowledged the need for speedy redressal of the issues raised and assured them that the govt. was on the job and committed to resolve all the issues at the earliest.
As part of its continued programme of supporting the flood victims according to its own capacity, All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) recently visited a village, Saddal, at Panjar in district Udhampur, the village that has been adopted by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister in PMO. AIKS team led by its Vice President, Shri A. K. Raina, and Shri Aryan Ramesh, Secretary, distributed Gas stoves, Solar Lamps and warm clothes to the affected families.
AIKS started the relief measures for the floods-affected people soon after the flood fury hit the Valley as well as the Jammu province. Earlier in the first phase, the AIKS had provided help to the KP community members living in the Valley followed by the second phase. In Jammu, AIKS distributed relief to the flood affected victims of Phalain Mandal. The families who have shifted to Panjar in camps were also given help from AIKS.
According to Shri Raina, AIKS is committed to help the KP community members who are in dire need of help. We have done much on the ground for the last 25 years and will continue to extend the same in the coming years also with renewed zeal’. He thanked Kashmir Overseas Association (KOA) for their solid support and also complimented Kashyap Kashmir Sabha Gurgaon, Kashmiri Sevak Samaj Faridabad, Kashmir Migrants Welfare Association Noida and Kashmiri Pandit Sabha Jammu for their concern and active participation in this effort.
The BJP leader, Shri Moti Kaul, was also present. Dr. Jitendra Singh conveyed his deep appreciation of the philanthropic activities of the AIKS in coming to the rescue of the worst affected flood victims.
Earlier, Solar lanterns, donated by Samarth Jyoti, – A CSR Initiative of UNO MINDA, were distributed by AIKS in collaboration with the District Red Cross Society, Jammu, among the flood victims of Phlala Mandal, Surya Chak, Raipur Satwari. The distribution work was carried out in the Govt High School, Surya Chak.
The recipients of the relief were first briefed on how to make proper use of the solar lanterns. The distribution operation was monitored by Shri A.K. Raina, Vice President, AIKS. Shri Aryan Ramesh, Secretary AIKS, Shri Deepak, Social Activist, and Shri Mr Kamal Saine, representative MINDA Company and Shri Ashok Sharma, Representative of the District Red Cross Society, Jammu were present on the occasion.
AIKS held its AGM on 5th October, 2014 at India International Centre, New Delhi. The meeting was presided over by the President Shri Moti Kaul. The meeting began after the brief introductory welcome by the President who thanked all the representatives of AIKS affiliates organizations, patron members, Life Members and special invitees for coming from far off places to attend the meeting. The meeting was held in a most cordial atmosphere. The following major decisions were taken.
AIKS Election – It was decided to hold the next election for the post of AIKS President on the 29th March 2015.
Appointment of Returning Officer – Shri I. K. Kilam (Faridabad) was appointed as the Returning Officer for AIKS election (2015-2018)
Appointment of Auditors – M/S K. S. Gupta & Co. Chartered Accountants, were appointed as the auditors for the next year.
Naad Circulation – Shri M. K. Kaw’s suggestion that every AIKS officer bearer, Executive Member, Patrons and Life Members and existing Naad subscribers should initiate a special Naad subscription campaign. Each AIKS office bearers and members of the executive should take upon themselves to enrol a minimum of 10 members from amongst their friends and relations, was unanimously accepted.
Shakti Nagar Project – It was unanimously decided to initiate steps to register the joint agreement entered into between AIKS and Koshur Sumchar regarding Shakti Nagar Plots and proceed for further construction activities at the site as per the decisions arrived at various JMC meetings for further follow up of the project, JMC was advised to take appropriate steps to take it to the logical conclusion.
Naad Promotion – The sincere efforts being made by Shri C. L. Sadhu in registering new Naad subscribers came in for deep appreciation. The meeting urged Shri Sadhu to step up the new subscription drive.
AIKS Participation – AIKS participated and contributed in the various community activities at Delhi NCR and Jammu region. This is in continuation to extend the support to the activities for the community good.
AIKS Relief Operations – AIKS is actively involved in the relief and rehabilitation process of our community members in Kashmir to provide them succour at this crucial stage. In this endeavour various KP organizations and philanthropists extended their support to sustain the programme. We extend them our gratitude for their noble gesture. The rehabilitation programme will continue as per the demands and also on the basis of need.
All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), in collaboration with Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a top-notch Think-Tank of the country, organized a day-long seminar on ‘Revisiting the Displaced Kashmiri Pandits Issue’ on 13 February 2015. ‘J&K: The Fractured Electorate Mandate and its Implications,’ and ‘Creation of a Legitimate Political Space for Displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir’ were the two principal themes of the Seminar. The seminar was attended and addressed by a large panel of eminent Kashmir observers and security experts, many among them owing their ancestry to Kashmir like Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Prof. Susheela Bhan, former diplomat Vivek Katju, AVM (Retd) Kapil Kak, Brig (Retd) Upinder Dhar and others. The inaugural session was chaired by General (retd) NC Vij, Director VIF and co-chaired by Dr Romesh Raina, General Secretary AIKS.
Lt Gen Ata Hasnain, former Corps Commander in Kashmir, chaired the first session and set the ball rolling with his observation that while Kashmiris were not able to intellectually sell their ‘freedom theory’ to India but it also remained a fact that national flag was unfurled and national anthem sung under the security cover. He said it took Jews 900 years to reclaim their land and KPs should not give up on their honorable return.
Taking cue from him, Dr Romesh Raina, General Secretary AIKS, said that countdown to 1990 events had actually begun in 1950s itself with the passage of a notorious piece of legislation ‘Land to Tillers without Compensations’ by Sheikh Abdullah-led government which was more aimed at economically weakening Kashmiri Pandits than providing succour to peasant community. He said consequent events like Parmeshwari agitation (mid-60s) or vandalism of houses and temples in highway town of Vanpoh in 1986 were curtain raisers to the events which eventually led to the en-masse exodus of the entire Kashmiri Pandit community from the Valley on that fateful January 20 night in 1990. He said a well-oiled government machinery was working overtime to erase the cultural marks of KPs from the history of Kashmir. He said return of KPs was possible in terms of assessment of ground reality, prevention of any refoulment, and reconciliation with the majority community.
Prof Amitabh Mattoo, in his presentation, saw a great hope and opportunity in the fractured electoral verdict in Kashmir. He was confident that the PDP-BJP government would be the most stable government in the state as it would be able to fulfill the aspirations of the people of both Jammu, the valley and also Ladakh. He identified five ‘R’ challenges before the government in the form of Restoration of trust in government, Revival of economy, Reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims, Rehabilitation of IDPs and Restitution in terms of compensation and relief. Concluding, Prof. Mattoo made a strong pitch for the establishment of Sharda university in Kashmir which has been hanging fire because of local political dithering ‘due to known reasons’ and passage of Temples and Shrines Bill which, he said, would go a long way in restoring the confidence of the exiled community.
Prof Susheela Bhan, however, saw a dangerous trend in the polarization of votes in recent elections on communal and regional lines where Jammu had voted for BJP and the valley for PDP. According to her, the division was too stark to be able to withstand any cobbled alliance between PDP and the BJP. The discordant voices from Jammu like Jammu Pradesh United Front calling for protection of Jammu identity and separatists voicing their own agenda was leaving no scope for centrist forces to operate, which can only redeem Kashmir from imminent disaster. She said we should take cognizance of people in the valley who voted for BJP or contested on BJP ticket and rebuild bridges with the valley through them. Regarding the return of KPs, Prof. Bhan said that atmosphere in the valley was too radicalized and Wahabizided to allow them the freedom to practice their faith unhindered.
Shri Vijay Aima, Vice-President AIKS, in his presentation, sought to demolish the myth that Kashmiri Pandits had occupied the positions of power in the government jobs in J&K, often quoted as reason for popular resentment against them. He asserted they were there by dint of their merit and qualifications and not by any favour conferred upon them. He said through an atmosphere of machinations and favouritism, successive regimes since 1950 have only sought to dilute their influence in government machinery and at the cost of efficiency and talent. He also debunked the myth of Kashmiriat by saying that only KPs subscribed to this culture and were always at the receiving end in the game of power politics. He said return of KPs hinged on three broad components –social acceptance by Majority community, Economic Survival, and Political Empowerment.
The second session was chaired by Mr. CD Sahay, former Secretary R&AW, and it had four speakers on the panel: AVM (retd) Kapil Kak, Brig (Retd) Upender Singh, Vivek Katju, former diplomat, and KM Singh, former member National Disaster Management Authority, India. General (Retd) NC Vij, Director VIF, who presided over the session, laid down the framework of discussions in his opening remarks.
AVM (retd) Kapil Kak said that ‘creation of political space’ for KPs was open to many interpretations, one of which amounted to seeking political influence. He said political space is not offered on platter but is grabbed by becoming part of the social milieu. AVM Kak said that currently 2889 KPs were living in 182 locations across the valley and they have created a space for themselves and were part of the larger picture of Kashmir. He said a BJP-PDP government in Kashmir was good for Indian democracy and also rooted for Passage of Shrines and Temples Bill.
Mr. Vivek Katju, debunked the argument put forward by AVM Kak regarding 2889 KPs at 182 locations living peacefully and coexisting with Muslim neighbours. He said things are not that rosy and, had that been so, KPs would not have been asking for secure zones even after 25 years. He added that though atmosphere is radicalized due to Wahabi strand of Islamic influence, but atmosphere has to be created conducive for their return and safe stay in Kashmir. He said local Muslim is also to be taken on board on the issue. He ended with a note of caution that peace in Kashmir should never be taken at face value and Pakistan factor in Kashmir should never be ignored.
Brig (Retd) Upender Dhar dwelt mostly on strategic military aspect and said that peace should be maintained on borders. He said a KP should be rehabilitated in Kashmir Valley in his own lifetime. Any effort later would be a wastage of the resources and effort.
While the Seminar remained predominantly focused on the post-election scenario in Jammu & Kashmir and the Kashmiri Pandits’ issues, other issues germane to the prolonged conflict in Kashmir such as Pakistan’s continued provocation and interference in India’s internal affairs, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting special status to the state of J&K, and the continued relevance of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) also came up for pointed discussions.
Some of the important conclusions drawn from the Seminar were: Kashmir is slowly but surely returning to normalcy; the higher voter turn-out in the recent election in J&K is indicative of people’s growing faith in the democratic processes; the fractured electorate mandate however is indicative of growing regional and communal polarization in the state, the fractured electorate mandate should not be viewed as a setback as it provides an opportunity to political parties, adhering to different ideologies, to come together for the common good of the people of Jammu and Kashmir; the agreed common minimum programme will ensure that the government, as and when it is formed, runs its full course; the Kashmiri Pandits provide the much needed ethnic balance to the beleaguered state; the Pandits in Kashmir do have a legitimate political space in the state; they however need to reclaim it with government backing; violence is not innate to the identity of Kashmir, and Kashmiriyat i.e. the composite culture of Kashmir, will eventually triumph over the political violence in Kashmir.
The passage of Temples and Shrines Bill, the creation of Shardapeeth University, and the creation of inter-dependence among different ethnic and religious groups in the State, were a few amongst the specific recommendations made during the Seminar.
Language is the essence and identity of culture, and a major tool for communication for exchanging ideas, emotions and feelings. To know your language is the key way to keep and preserve culture. Who can appreciate it more than the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community whose members have been trying hard to keep their language and culture alive in flower pots and artificial envrironnment, away from its natural climate and soil.
It is in view of these facts that the Centre for Kashmiri Language Literature and Culture of the All India Kashmiri Samaj took the initiative of organizing the International Mother Tongue Day on February 21 this year. The venue was the auditorium of the Vishwa Bharati Public School in Noida. Prof Sudhir K Sopory, Vice- Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University was the Chief Guest. The event was attended by a large number of community members, writers, poets, language lovers and critics.
The Inaugural Session commenced with an Invocation leela rendered with deep devotion by Shri Mohan K Monga. Welcoming the guests, Dr Romesh Raina, General Secretary, AIKS said that language was not just a means of communication, but a repository of a community’s collective history and heritage. It also provides an identity and a focus that binds the community together. Using one’s mother tongue at home will make it easier for children to be comfortable with their own cultural identity.
Prof Omkar N Koul, Chairman, CKLLC presented the Keynote Address in which he highlighted the significance of the International Mother Tongue Day celebrated worldwide including India. Prof. O.N.Koul amused the lovers of the language with his elucidations on many finer attributes of Kashmiri language like word order, which he said, was closer to German and some European languages. He said some usages and phraseology like question answer pattern of saying made it unique and apart from other languages. He said AIKS found itself duty bound to observe this Day because Kashmiri as our Mother tongue needed to be promoted more effectively. He gave a perspective of the activities and projects initiated by the Centre in this regard. Pandit Gautam Kaul, Acting President AIKS, provided many valuable suggestions for preserving the mother tongue and appealed to all constituents of the AIKS for celebrating such an event every year. Prof Sudhir K Sopory, Chief Guest, appreciated the efforts made by the CKLLC for organising the event and for initiating several projects for the preservation of Kashmiri language and culture. Prof Sopory announced a generous personal donation of Rs One Lakh to the Centre and gave an assurance that he would look into the possibilities of starting a Certificate Course in Kashmiri at the JNU, which was received with thunderous applause.
The CKLLC presented three special Awards on this occasion to Shri S N Bhat ‘Haleem’, Dr Brij Krishen Moza, and Shri Maharaj Krishen Raina for their invaluable services to the promotion and preservation of Kashmiri language and culture, for the past several decades. While Haleem Sahib, even at his very advanced age, graced the function personally to receive the honour, the Award for Dr. Moza, who could not come from Kolkatta due to his ill health, was received on his behalf by Shri A. N. Kaul Sahib. Likewise, Shri M. K. Raina’s Award was received by one of his relatives as he was away in Dubai. A message of thanks and gratitude to AIKS, received from Dr. Moza, was read out by Shri Sahib. He also read out a message from Shri T. N. Dhar Kundan from Bangalore.
The books released on this occasion included a special issue of Vaakh 37, Nund Reshiny Shruky, compiled and translated by Santosh Shah Nadaan; ‘Krishen Joo Razdan’ edited by B L Razdan; Jaloosan Hund Shahar (Kashmiri short stories) by Chaman Lal Hakhoo and Van ta Vakhnay (literary essays) by Autar Krishen Rahbar.
In the second session, a meaningful symposium was held on the topic “The Status of Kashmiri as a Mother Tongue”. It was chaired by Shri A N Kaul Sahib and scholarly presentations were made by Prof M H Zaffar, Autar Krishen Rahbar, Chaman Lal Hakhoo, Prof H.K Kher and Dr Lulabi Pattanayak. The presentations were followed by a discussion with special inputs by Sarvashri B L Razdan, Gen. B.N Kaul, Kamal Hak, and C. L Gadoo.
The third session comprised of a brief cultural programme and a Mushaira. Vanshika Bhat presented melodious songs in Kashmiri and Upasana Pandita made a brief presentation in chaste Kashmiri. The following well-known poets participated in the Mushaira: S. N Bhat Haleem, M H Zaffar, Sunita Raina Pandit, Ashok Saraf Ghayal, H K Kher, J L Tickoo Kosam and B L Kaul Deep.
Dr Roop Krishen Bhat, in his characteristic style, anchored the Inaugural and Symposium sessions of the event. Smt Sunita Raina Pandit anchored the cultural programme and Mushaira. Management of the Vishwa Bharti School Noida provided all the logistic support including the Seminar Hall and sumptuous lunch and morning and evening tea to all those who attended the programme.
A report by Naad Bureau (with inputs from Omkar N. Kaul.)