IndiaThen Bal Thackeray wanted to get weapons to Kashmiri Pandits.... He was...

Then Bal Thackeray wanted to get weapons to Kashmiri Pandits…. He was the only loud voice in the country which was horrified by the genocide of 1990.


Mumbai : With the release of the film The Kashmir Files on the big screen, that pain of the 1990s has also emerged. The whole country has stood up in support of the families of the victims. A debate has broken out. After all, why Kashmiri Pandits had to flee overnight at that time and why did the governments of that time do nothing to stop this massacre? Many stories are coming out and memoirs are being written. One of these big names is of Bal Thackeray, the biggest Hindutva face of the country. When the scene comes in the film that Bal Thackeray can come forward to help us, why not the government? On the one hand, the reverence of Bal Thackeray increases in the audience and on the other hand the government gets angry. The story is from three decades ago today. After all, how did Bal Thackeray help Kashmiri Pandits at that time?

When the whole country was silent due to the fear of terrorists, only Balasaheb spoke openly on the issues of Kashmiri Pandits. He also openly advocated giving weapons to Kashmiri Pandits for self-defense.

Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena leader

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Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their homes and flee to other states of the country. Many people had left the valley and reached Mumbai. These were the people who ran for their lives in Kashmir. Forced to flee with their parents, wife and children, most of these people had nothing but clothes to wear. These people, who were made homeless from their homes, could not even understand what they would do next. Today’s generation will be proud to know that at that time Maharashtra proved to be a state which helped Kashmiri Pandits in every possible way.

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Sanjay Nahar, who runs an NGO named Sarhad in Pune, says, “A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits led by then retired Lieutenant General PN Hun met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. The condition of Kashmiri Pandits was told in front of them. He had asked Balasaheb to use his position to give reservation to Kashmiri Pandits in technical and engineering courses.

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Balasaheb Thackeray (said in a program)

Writer Rahul Pandita also points out that Kashmiri Pandits did not have a penny in their pockets but they did not ask for financial help, but they wanted something that would help them stand on their own feet and be self-reliant.

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It was none other than the current party spokesperson Sanjay Raut who got the delegation of Kashmiri Pandits to meet the Shiv Sena chief. At that time he used to be a young journalist. Balasaheb immediately agreed to the proposal of Kashmiri Pandits, while the opposition parties also made fun of it.

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Nahar says that by giving reservation, Balasaheb filled the Kashmiri migrants with confidence and about seven-eight thousand people had benefited from it. Pandita says that Balasaheb had helped unconditionally and neither did he ever see Kashmiri Pandits as vote bank. It was his completely selfless move.

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Bal Thackeray agreed to give weapons to Pandits
Recalling those days, Shiv Sena MP Raut says that only Balasaheb spoke openly on the issues of Kashmiri Pandits when the whole country was silent due to the fear of terrorists. He said that when the delegation met Balasaheb, they also talked about giving weapons to Kashmiri Pandits for self-defense but they (pundits) rejected it and requested for reservation in education.

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Balasaheb gave five percent reservation to Kashmiri migrants in the state. No one can understand their pain as much as Shiv Sena can understand. Kashmiri Pandits openly say that when they had no one to say their own, only Balasaheb gave them life.

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Both Rahul Pandita and Wanchoo say that the top positions held by Kashmiri Pandits in the central government or in companies around the world have been possible only because of the Maharashtra government. Wanchoo says that inspired by Balasaheb, the whole of Maharashtra helped Kashmiri Pandits. How many such students were there in Maharashtra, who could not pay their rent but the landlord silently waived their rent. He told that when he met Balasaheb in 1994, he was surprised to know that he had not left Kashmir.

Nahar says that many NGOs in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and other cities also came forward to help the Kashmiri migrants. They were provided with food and clothes. Pandita and Wanchoo say that Balasaheb’s debt will remain forever and the Kashmiri displaced will always consider Maharashtra a second home. Balasaheb’s initiative to provide reservation for the displaced Kashmir has now gone a long way and the central government is also helping them by giving various types of reservations.
(With inputs from IANS)

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