Jammu, Sep 15 (PTI) A group of Kashmiri Pandits laid the foundation stone of a memorial dedicated to its community members, who were killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir over the past three decades, on the banks of Tawi river here.

Coming up on the lines of the Army's war memorial, the "martyrs memorial" is said to be the biggest civilian memorial in Jammu, they said.

"As the displaced community marks 31 years since the forcible exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley due to emergence of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, Mata Badrakali Trust has laid the foundation for the first-ever memorial for those KPs, who were killed by terrorists since 1990," Mata Bhadrakali Asthapan Trust president Dilip Pandita told reporters here.

He said work on the project has been started with the laying of the foundation stone on Tuesday.

The structure will be crowned with a big dome while marble plates with names and dates of those who died will be inscribed on them. It is coming up on three acres of land at Thalwal on the banks of Tawi river, project in-charge Raj Kumar said.

Under the dome, there will be big marble walls on which the names of members of the community, who died since the first India-Pakistan war in 1947 along with those killed due to terrorism since 1990, he said.

It will also house a museum and library to preserve and protect the literary heritage, including ancient manuscripts and books, paintings and pictures besides serving as a platform to infuse knowledge of ancient Kashmir and its religious and cultural wealth to the next generation, Kumar said.

Former BJP MLA Ajay Bharti said, "It will be the 'Rajghat' of Kashmiri Hindus. It will serve as a milestone of the sacrifices of Kashmiri Hindus for their nation and their faith". He said it will come up in record time of one year.

Trust member Rajiv Pandit said all Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus killed over the years -- including those in Wandhama, Sangram Pora, Chattisinghpora, Nadimarg areas of Kashmir -- will be remembered through the memorial with their names engraved on the plaques of the memorial.

"It is recognising the sacrifices made by our community for the nation. It is a great day for all of us. It will also serve as a monument of visual knowledge of our martyrs for future generations," said Sushma Shalla, whose father Chung Lal Shalla, a police officer, was killed by terrorists in north Kashmir in 1990.

Earlier, a smaller memorial was set up in 2019 on the banks of Ranbir Canal, a tributary of Chenab river.