Kashmiri Muslims have suffered in terms of human lives, Pandits in material context
Views from Srinagar
FAYAZ GANIE HERE are many tragedies that have struck to Kashmir valley and created hell out of the paradise on the earth. The migration of Kashmiri Pandits is surely one among them. In the larger picture this migration is directly or indirectly related to the way India and Pakistan have treated her after they gained freedom from the colonial rule. They have made this place a playing ground, a boxing ring, to score points over each other and to display their military might. It seems that a deliberate game plan is underway which never allows the leadership of these two countries to resolve Kashmir dispute, once for all.
It is this non-resolution of Kashmir which is at the back of most of the hardships that Kashmir and people of Kashmir are facing including the mass migration of minority Hindu population from Kashmir.
The migration of Pandits from Kashmir in the last decade of the twentieth was a tragedy, a real tragedy with the nation and people of Kashmir. It was the death of the principle of coexistence, death of a nation. Irrespective of the agents, condition or people who were responsible for the migration, the statement remains the same, it was a national tragedy.
The tragedy becomes even worse when there was deliberate inactivity in stopping the migration. If there was any activity it was in increasing the pace with which the
Tmigration took place. The agents and agencies which were supposed to provide security to the minority community, failed in doing that. Therefore, when the migration should have been prevented, it was allowed to take place, when it should have been reversed, status quo was allowed to remain undisturbed and when there should have been that all important reconciliation process to bring back the vital segment of Kashmir’s population, there are no sincere attempts to achieve that.
Even in the current circumstances when all agencies seem working for the return of Kashmiri Pandits, there again the sincerity is lacking and it seems that there are some hidden agendas which are at the work than to initiate and ensure the return of this minority community to its native place.
The return of Kashmiri Pandits should be like the return of a family member not as a competitor or rival.
However, the efforts that are underway seem working towards inserting enemies into the family to weaken it from within and to create opponents out of brothers. Kashmiri Pandits are the owners of this place as we the Kashmiris are.
There are some of them who owned, or still own, much more property than most of the Kashmiri Muslims have. They have equal rights to live here as I or any other person from my religion is. So, all the Kashmir belongs to them not only the under plan separate so called secured townships where there can be no security in real sense.
This creating of rival out of brothers is the last thing that the troubled state deserves at this crucial juncture of her history. Neither the Hindus nor the Muslims of this state want this to happen. What they want is peace, prosperity; development and coexistence in the State but the people with other designs are not allowing that to happen.
Before coming to the strategy that can be adopted for the return of the Pandits, let me make it clear that there is no dishonor in returning to one’s home, after one day or ten thousand days. This is true for Kashmiri Pandits, who left the valley under whatever conditions. There is no dishonor if they return and when they return. Instead their return is an honorable thing not only for Hindus but also for the Muslims and the state at large. Additionally, the return of Kashmiri Pandits is in the best interests of the state and there is no person or party in Kashmir who their return.
The first thing to do is to put the blames and counter blames to rest and deal with the real issue. The disputed nature of this place had set, and continues to set, the angels of death in a perpetual dance is opposing where the result is death, destruction and desolation. So the migration of this Hindu religious minority of Kashmir, to other parts of India happened under the conditions where there was genuine insecurity which was exploited by the people who had others evil things to achieve. Hence blaming this minority for exaggerating things is a misplaced and unfounded statement. Had there been options available even to the Muslim majority of Kashmir to migrate to other parts of the world their migration could have been justified if by doing that the hundred thousand people, who died, could have been saved. Moreover, there it is also a fact that there was not the least involvement of majority community to initiate or promote the migration which is wrongly blamed upon them.
Hence, it is time to stop this blame game and invest energy in devising a sincere strategy to ensure the honorable return of Kashmiri Pandits involving all the stake holders.
One truth about policies, programs and interventions of government in Jammu and Kashmir is that they are viewed with suspicion. They are hardly trusted and if they are trusted, the trust is only ephemeral. This is exactly the case with the current efforts on part of the government to ensure safe return of Kashmiri Pandits. They seem half hearted, suspicious, operationally unviable and intentionally motivated to achieve some hidden agendas.
The establishment of separate townships is thought to be a solution which actually it is not, it can never be so. The best alternative is to make Kashmiri Pandits as active participants in the process of their return and government as a facilitator.
In the current strategy government and the associated agencies are active participants and the Pandits relatively inactive. Some are even disinterested to return which makes it a flawed strategy. When it is an issue of a community let the community decide about how to return, if they want to return. —Courtesy: Rising Kashmir