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A wound that 30 years couldn’t heal: Life of Kashmiri Pandits in Valley

SRINAGAR: Life in the last 30 years in Kashmir has not been “easy” for 52-year-old Sanjay Tickoo. “It was full of struggles, which have not ended for me and other Kashmiri Pandits,” said Tickoo as his eyes glassed remembering a fateful night over 30 years ago. Tickoo’s is one of the few Kashmiri Pandit families which did not flee the Valley in the 1990s. He says that it’s “sheer luck that we stayed back”.

Hailing from Barbarshah area of uptown Srinagar, he said his family too had packed and planned to leave Kashmir in the 1990s after militants started killing Pandits.

“On the day we had to leave for Jammu, my mood changed and I told the truck driver that we don’t want to leave. I had paid Rs 500 in advance. He did not return the money after I told him we won’t be leaving,” said Tickoo, president of Pandit group, Kashmir Pandit Sangarsh Samiti. Once areas such as Barbarshah, Habba Kadal, Rainawari, Sonwar and Indira Nagar in Srinagar had a large population of Pandits, said Tickoo.