Kashmiri Pandits had faced a dead scary incident in Kashmir on 19th January 1990. The scattered Kashmiri pandits across the world observed the day of January 19, 2020, as ‘holocaust day’ (genocide killing).
Even though the social media have been flooded by scattered Kashmiri pandits’ with video clippings promising to “return and die” in the Valley, Kashmiri Pandit community on Sunday appeared to be overwhelmed by self-doubts over their return back in the valley.
They, being hopeful by Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that he should resolve the community living as “refugees in their own country” for the past 30 years at one place in the Valley.
In the meantime Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film Shikara on the emigration of Kashmiri pandits is supposed to be released in February 2020, several Kashmiri pandits have taken to social media to express their love and willingness to return to their homeland in the Valley to “live and die” there.
Haji Sahib, we will come back. We will live and die in Kashmir. Our ashes will be immersed in river Vitasta in Kashmir,” is one such video clipping among many similar ones doing the rounds on social media.
Kashmiri pandits are only afraid of their ‘safety and security’ which is the biggest hurdle in their returning back to their home in the Valley.
On this day, over 70 thousand pandit families numbering over 3.5 lakh were forced out of the Valley due to genocide killings and terror by Pakistan sponsored terrorists in 1990.
After 30 years Kashmiri Pandits came forward for its celebration as Black Day. This event was held this year as there was an abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the execution of the Citizenship Amendment Act. Now they have started hoping again and could see a flash of light amongst the complete darkness.
Panun Kashmir convener Agnishakher said that they are now hopeful for good things to come ahead after the new developments in the valley by the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 and amendments in the Citizenship Act. They are also keeping hopes from the Union government under the visionary leadership of PM Narendra Modi as they would understand the pain and agony suffered by Hindus of Kashmir for the last 30 years.
He said as on now Panun Kashmir is recognized as a separate territory which could be carved out in Kashmir for 7 lakh Kashmiri pandits, it is for government to discuss with the community the ways and means of the basis of return and rehabilitation of evacuated community in accordance with the principle of non-refoulment (the act of forcing a refugee or asylum seeker to return to a country or territory where he or she had faced persecution).
One 89-year-old Mohan Lal Dhar, sitting in the one-room quarter at Jagti camp on the outskirts of Jammu city, wants one place settlement for all Kashmiri pandits in Kashmir. He is very much hopeful that the government under PM Modi will re-establish them in Kashmir again.
Dhar is also amongst the seven lakh-odd Kashmiri Pandits who had to evacuate Kashmir Valley due to threatening and killing by terrorism in 1989-90. He said they are living as “refugees in their own country” for three decades but nothing is being done for their return and rehabilitation because terrorism is still on.
Somewhat, who is living in Muthi camp after their migration from North Kashmir’s Wadipora belt, wants to return to the valley to die there as she urges Modi Ji to create condition at one place in the valley?
She said she wants to die there only. That is her last wish. Modi Ji should settle us at one place in a secure environment. They are hoping that their dreams will be fulfilled.
❍ Kashmiri Pandits One place-settlement in Kashmir
Looking to the demands of Kashmiri Pandits, All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) General Secretary Dr. T K Bhat said that the demand of Kashmiri pandits for “one place-settlement” is only alternative for return and rehabilitation of the minuscule community in Kashmir after ensuring their safety and security.
But the main concern is safety and security for the community in Kashmir Valley said by Mr. Bhat stressed on the safety and security and said It is a major issue, as one can guard our houses, colonies…but it is not possible to provide security to each and every Kashmiri Pandit when they go out in the market. Security is the most important aspect connected to the return of the community.
The earlier government UPA 1 had offered a rehabilitation package for KPs that proposed Rs 7.5 lakh to every Kashmiri Pandit family willing to return to the Valley.
Many families had volunteered to return and filled up the forms. Since then eight years have passed, but there has been no progress said by Poshker Nath, who has been living at Roopnagar in Jammu. The Ministry of Home Affairs had in a written reply in Parliament said that only one family has returned.
Prof B.L.Zutshi, a prominent social activist said that only one place homeland is the political empowerment of the community, and they are looking forward to this political empowerment. He said, since 1947, Kashmir was gradually moving into the hands of fanaticism and the-fascism and 1990 saw the culmination of well-coordinated strategies to remove Kashmir Pandits, the biggest epitome of Indian Nationhood in Kashmir.
Bihari Kak, a popular artist and member of the Athwal Cultural Association also claimed that the security of the community is the prime and first thing to return to the valley.
The Kashmiri pandits said that their return to the Kashmir Valley is linked to employment, as the youths willing to return need to have a source of livelihood.
The proposal to restore the community in composite townships in the Valley was controversial by the Narendra Modi government, which faced opposition not only from separatists but also the mainstream political parties in Kashmir.