Kash­miri Mus­lims have suf­fered in terms of hu­man lives, Pan­dits in ma­te­rial con­text

Views from Sri­na­gar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

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

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