* 'Nitish Kumar's food being ... ': Jitan Manjhi's startling allegation, a day after tongue-lashing from Bihar CM     * Supreme Court Raps Punjab Governor Over Delay In Bills    * Blinken brings a notable shift in US language toward Israel as pressure mounts at home and abroad    * Hidden camera catches ‘traumatic’ moment lift falls on passenger’s head when Air Canada staff struggle during the transfer to her wheelchair    * Edmonton police believe 11-year-old child was intentionally killed in daytime shooting

Back to uncertain times?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on April 17, 2015 with No Comments


“We are keen to go back to our roots, but not at the cost of our lives and livelihood. Will the government ensure good education to my kids? Will they offer me a livelihood? Can the government assure me security?”


They remained as migrants in their own country at the mercy of various governments, struggled to re-grip their roots. With their sheer determination to succeed, some of them have been able to re-establish themselves and have success stories to share; others still live in oblivion. Now after 24 years, the ruling party of India that also has a stake in the government in Jammu and Kashmir- the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has mooted the idea of separate zone for Pundits in Kashmir to prompt them to return to the valley. The idea found favour with the alliance partner the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but only for a while. Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed has now denied any move to create a “separate homeland” for Pandits.

The two parties were the biggest beneficiaries of the polarization on religious lines and were able to translate the same into votes. PDP now feels that the separate zones could only accentuate the existing communal divides. Is PDP opposed to the idea of getting Kashmiri Pandits back or to the proposed composite colonies? The improvised realization only came for PDP after certain separatists leaders got embroiled in creating an opinion that it was a ploy to make “Kashmir the next Palestine and rob people of their land”, with separatist Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani leading the chant. Soon the valley witnessed protest, closure of business establishment, educational institutions, making many feel that the days of revulsion are back in the valley.


Perhaps we have had enough of talking by politicians, and it would be right to gauge the mood of the people in question. One such displaced Kashmiri Pandit obliged by responding to our queries. She had just appeared for the final exams of degree in Electronics Engineering, when the family had to experience “the exodus in the night,” as Anita Sharma a technocrat from REC Srinagar turned professor working with a leading Technical University at Gurgoan describes those terrible happenings of 1990. Her parents stayed in Jammu, got a house made after “leaving  everything behind in Kashmir which included a house and some land my father had bought for his children in addition to movable property he left there,” said Anita. Taking the case of her two sons, Anita stated, “Having been born and brought up outside Kashmir, the younger generation of Pandits are unfamiliar with Kashmir and as such are settled elsewhere now, so I don’t think they can relate to that place and the culture there.” She has a point to make, those who have had a little connect or no contact can’t be expected to re-establish that. “Even our generation is settled now and will find it difficult to leave everything behind and go there to an uncertain future. It is only the generation older than us who want to go back there to the motherland,” added Anita. She does raise a concern for the politicians to respond. Having being displaced for over two and a half decades now, are the Kashmiri Pandits really interested to go back?

“Historically ‎Pundits were always treated as religious minority but never given the minority benefits that are enjoyed by minorities in rest of country,” said 41years old Sidharath Parimoo, currently based at National Capital Region, Engineer by Qualification and presently serving as Vice President-Business Operation with a Leading Telecom Company of India, originally from Srinagar Kashmir.  Going back to Kashmir brings back mixed feelings for Sidharath, “We are keen to go back to our roots, but not at the cost of our lives and livelihood. Will the government ensure good education to my kids? Will they offer me a livelihood? Can the government assure me security?” asked Sidharath. His questions are valid and no government or for that matter any political party would like to provide an answer? “We don’t want to repeat the same mistake that our ancestors did hundreds of years back when there was a similar exodus on similar religious lines, at that time valley was left with just 11 Pundit families. Our ancestors came back on the assurance of the king who ensured safe return of all pundits, but what happened years after in 1990 is partially known to the world,” asserted Sidharath. Not to present a grim picture, the media in India didn’t cover that massive exodus of 1990 and “unfortunately world is not fully aware of the atrocities which the community has gone through,” said Sidharath.

Concern raised by Anita Sharma and Sidharath Parimoo are not just opinions but also concerns that need to be heard and addressed  , as a statement from a BJP MLA Engineer Rashid that Kashmiri Pandits must ‘apologize to the majority community for leaving them behind at the mercy of lawlessness,” shows sincerity of purpose ! “Kashmiri Pandits must seek unconditional apology from the majority community for migration and leaving them behind at the mercy of guns, grenades, bullets, crack-downs, PSAs, AFSPA, custodial killings, rapes, murders, forced labor, custodial disappearances, humiliation and rule of lawlessness,” the lawmaker with no sense of belonging  was quoted as saying by the media in Kashmir. Asking for apology from Pandits who had to leave the valley, under threats from separatist is only an act of a stupid mind.


By pushing the idea of separate zones for Pandits, BJP is in effect abandoning responsibility of the government it heads at the Centre and of the government it is part of in Jammu and Kashmir, in restoring normality to the conflict-torn Valley, and PDP intends to keep the communities polarized for petty gains.

We would keep seeking more opinion of displaced Kashmiri pundits.

Watch out for this space next week.



No Comments

Comments for Back to uncertain times? are now closed.