As the country celebrates Eid and amid the dimness in Kashmir, a group of Kashmiri Pandits in Delhi-NCR came together to host a lunch for Kashmiris and some others will be hosting a community event at Jantar Mantar.
Exactly a week after the Centre imposed an unprecedented lockdown on Jammu and Kashmir, the state and its many natives scattered in different parts of the country observed a gloomy Eid on Monday. Many couldn’t wish their relatives stuck in the Valley given the restrictions on connectivity. However, amid the dimness, a group of Kashmiri Pandits in Delhi-NCR came together to host a lunch for Kashmiris and some others will be hosting a community event at Jantar Mantar.
The Valley still remains under a communication blackout with phone lines and mobile services suspended. Many non-resident Kashmiris trying to reach out to their families and relatives in the Valley to wish them on Eid have been unsuccessful. In order to show solidarity and celebrate Eid with Kashmiris who have been unable to go back to Kashmir or speak to their families, several groups in the national capital are organizing events, potlucks and lunches to make them feel at home.
One such event was organized by a group of Kashmiri Pandits in Gurugram on Monday afternoon.
Knowing the history of Kashmiri Pandits and how they, themselves, had to leave their homes in the wake of violence several decades back, this move came as a heartwarming gesture for Kashmiris unable to reach out to their families.
Pankaj Dhar, one of the organizers of the event, said, “I am a displaced Kashmiri myself. I know what it is like to be away from home, especially during a festival. So 3-4 of us got together to organize a lunch for our Kashmiri brothers and sisters to celebrate Eid with them. We have organized everything and just want them to know that we stand in solidarity with them and hope things will get better soon.”
Another such event would be held at Jantar Mantar on Monday evening. People from across faiths and ideologies have been invited to bring food, share stories and observe Eid with those away from home.
Sharika Amin, one of the organizers said, “When we are away from family and unable to get in touch, celebrating Eid gets a little difficult. We are simply observing it. The fact that we are doing it at Jantar Mantar and not in our homes with our families is a statement in itself. We hope that Kashmiris living away from home, students, professionals, etc, would find some solace in this event.”
Faiq Faizan, the other organizer, added, “We chose Jantar Mantar as the venue as it is all inclusive. We want everybody across ideologies to come and observe Eid with us. This is not a political event. We want to show solidarity with those who have families back home and also listen to their stories.”
Social media is brimming with posts from individuals inviting Kashmiris to their homes for Eid festivities, something which will go a long way to make them feel included.
On August 5, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was withdrawn by an order signed by the President. The Valley, which has for years, been a hotbed of violence and cries of ‘azaadi’ has largely been under curfew from two days before the move. The Centre had lifted some of the restrictions in view of the Eid celebrations, however, curfew was reimposed once the prayers got over.