Jammu, Jul 30 (PTI) Living at the crossroads of uncertainty for the past 27 years, displaced Kashmiri Pandits’ fervent hopes to return to their homes in the Kashmir Valley has been dashed as militancy has again reared its ugly head with rising violence. Also Read - Train Services Resume In Kashmir Valley After 11 Months of COVID-19 Restrictions
Thousands of Pandit families are putting up here in the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, after their mass migration from the valley following outbreak of militancy in early 1990 which forced them out of their homeland. Also Read - On Day 1 Of J&K Visit, Foreign Envoys Impressed With Peaceful DDC Polls | All You Need to Know
Their hopes for a return to Kashmir was rekindled after formation of PDP-BJP government in March 2015 as the two parties had talked about “protecting and fostering ethnic and religious diversity by ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits with dignity based on their rights as state subjects and reintegrating as well as absorbing them in the Kashmiri milieu”. Also Read - We Were On High Alert, Says Jammu Police After Detecting 7-kg IED On Pulwama Attack Anniversary
General Secretary of All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference T K Bhat said the growing radicalism in Kashmir and government policies to deal with the situation are the biggest hurdle in the way of return of the Pandits to the valley.
“The situation is not ideal right now for our return to the valley as even the policemen are unsafe. They are being killed and their weapons looted. The present (Central) government is pursuing the same policy (on Kashmir) as that of Congress. Those who don’t know the ABCD of Kashmir are being consulted (on Kashmir) while we, the real stakeholders, are being ignored,” he said.
Bhat also took a dig at the PDP-BJP government and said it miserably failed to restore the confidence of the Pandits.
“There was no move on part of the government to invite the Pandits, organise round table conferences, or reach out to the community to discuss and deliberate the issue of their return,” he said.
However, he said his organisation would continue to fight for their return to Kashmir.
“How can we return to the valley in such a situation. A police officer is lynched, al-Qaeda is making inroads, dreaded militants are changing loyalties and openly threatening even the separatists. This situation coupled with unrest is so scary,” All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) president Vinod Pandit said.
Kashmiri Pandit Samaj president K K Khosa blamed the separatists for obstructing the return of Pandits to the valley, saying “they are not sincere since they are attaching conditions for our return”.
“Initially, they said Kashmir is incomplete without Pandits but later said they will not allow separate colonies for us in the valley. It shows that they are not sincere,” said Khosa, who unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha elections from the valley in 2004.
He said the government dropped the proposal for separate colonies due to pressure from the separatist forces.
“Instead of redoubling efforts, the government gave up and shelved the plan,” he said.
He said properties of 70 per cent of displaced Pandits from the valley have changed hands over the years leaving only 30 per cent who still have their houses and properties there.
“Where will they go if these 70 per cent choose to return?” he asked, adding “the desire to return and live there was inherent and embedded in each and every Kashmiri Pandit”.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.