Search:



The Web

Rediff








Home > News > Elections 2004 > Special

The Rediff Election Special / Onkar Singh in New Delhi

A Pandit's fight for Kashmiriyat

March 26, 2004

Over 100,000 Kashmiri Pandits have left the Kashmir valley since 1991 and taken shelter in migrant camps in Delhi, Jammu and other places.

Now, one of them has decided to contest the general election as an independent from the Srinagar constituency, from where National Conference president Omar Abdullah is also in the fray.

Fifty-year-old businessman Kishen Kumar Khosa says his "sole strength" is his "intrinsic faith in Kashmiriyat, an ideology that, in spite of violence, is still the way of life for us Kashmiris."

"As a son of the soil I have decided to intervene and try to revive the peaceful and harmonious environment of Kashmir," he says.

Khosa hails from Bhanmohalla in Habbakdal, downtown Srinagar, an area currently infested with militants. His family also has property in Jammu as his father, an engineer with the state government, had been posted there for quite a while.

"I want to restore the values of peace, brotherhood and inter-community bonds for which Jammu and Kashmir has been famous. Besides, I as a Kashmiri and as an Indian have every right to contest the election from any part of India," he says.

Khosa spent the last fortnight touring his constituency, which has 10.5 lakh voters, and which includes Srinagar and Badgam.

"Over 1.25 lakh voters are Kashmiri Pandits and over 81,000 of them live in various migrant camps. My constituency is perhaps the biggest because I have to canvass for votes not only in Srinagar, Badgam, Jammu and Delhi, but also other places in India where Pandits have gone since 1991," says the father of three, whose wife Geeta is helping him in his endeavour.

He says he will have a low-key campaign and seek financial help from Kashmiri Pandit organisations.

Khosa denies there is a threat to his life from the militants. "So far I have managed to campaign without any problem. Once I file my nomination I will get a bullet-proof car and security. That should help," he says.

"I have not spent sleepless nights after announcing my candidature. I slept well, particularly in the valley. I live in Jammu and work there for my livelihood," he added.

Khosa has been involved in social activities for two decades. "I was vice-president of the All India Kashmiri Samaj. I was president of the Jammu and Kashmir Billiards and Snooker Association in 1990-2000. I expect my friends, both Kashmiri Pandits and from other communities, to come forward and help me in my campaign and ensure my victory," he says with a smile.

Help is already on the way.

Sunil Shakdhar, chairman, Kashmir Samiti, says he will convene a meeting of Kashmiri Pandit organisations around the country to decide how to support Khosa.



Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Write us a letter
Discuss this article


Related Stories


Omar to contest from Srinagar



People Who Read This Also Read


Cost of this poll? 1,000 crores!

Mammootty may refuse Rs 2 crore

What is Proxy Voting?







India Votes 2004 | The Rediff Specials




Share your comments


 What do you think about the story?




Read what others have to say:


Number of User Comments: 5




Sub: bingo!!!

Voila!!! It was indeed pleasant to read about MR.Khosa announcing his candidatute for the elections. Tt seems he is on his way to set an ...


Posted by sakshi





Sub: A pandits fight for Kashmiriyat

Great courage demonstrated which should be supported by every Kashmiri pandit .We should appeal to all umbrella oraganisations to come forward and unite all Kashmiri ...


Posted by Ajay Sumbally





Sub: A Pandit's fight

Yes, it is a very courageous and heartening story.But it hasn't received anywhere near the attention it deserves from the national and international media. Here's ...


Posted by Varun Shekhar





Sub: a pandits fight for kashmiriyat

We all pandits should rise above our ego and vote for Mr. Khosa who can do something (if elected) in getting our kashmiriyat back. I ...


Posted by JATINDER LALA





Sub: A Pandit's Fight for Kashmiriyat

Hurrey! Three Cheers for Shri Khosa! This is what is needed from sizable Kashmiri Pandits. Not only various Kashmiri pandit organisations should come forward, as ...


Posted by K.K. KAUL




Disclaimer







Copyright © 2004 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.