Jammu: Several Kashmiri Hindus on Sunday staged a protest here to mark the 30th year of their mass exodus following a genocidal campaign initiated by terrorists.

The protesters, which comprised mainly Kashmiri Pandits, held several placards, which read -- 'Holocaust Day - 19.01.1990', and 'Kashmiri Pandits, Victims of Religious Cleansing Facing Apartheid’. They demanded justice for the victims and severe punishment for those responsible for the exodus. Advocate Ravinder Raina, president, All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC), said: "We have been observing this 'black day' since January 19, 1990, when we were driven away from our homes. My question to the government is why they have not taken up this issue seriously like revoking Article 370 and triple talaq. Why have they been silent for the last 30 years for us?"

TK Bhat, general secretary, ASKPC, said: "The Islamic terrorists drove us away from our homes by pointing their guns at us, misbehaving with our women, and killing our men. They had exiled us from our roots, and we have been living like refugees in our own country for the last 30 years."

Also read: Three decades on, mass exodus still haunts Kashmiri Pandits

Bhat slammed the Central government for not taking appropriate action to ensure the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus including Pandits.

"No one has asked about our situation. We had great expectations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he too has not taken any step to ensure our rehabilitation. All the governments have used us as a political tool," he added.

He demanded a settlement for the Kashmiri Pandits as soon as possible, along with political empowerment and economic rehabilitation, and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to take action against the people responsible for the genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

Thirty years ago, on this day, January 19, the land of Jammu and Kashmir saw the beginning of the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits following a genocidal campaign launched by the terrorists.

As the slogans of 'Ralive, Tsalive Ya Galive (Convert to Islam, leave the place or Perish)' reverberated from the mosques and streets, the Kashmir Pandits were forced to flee their homeland, virtually turning them into refugees in their own country.