Sep­a­rate town­ships not right step: Pan­dits

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

SRINAGAR—Amid rag­ing con­tro­versy over sep­a­rate town­ships for mi­grants in Kash­mir, the Pan­dits of Bandi­pora district, who have not mi­grated, have said that the cre­ation of sep­a­rate town­ships for mi­grant Pan­dits is not a right step to ad­dress the is­sue.

A Kash­miri Hindu family liv­ing in Ajar lo­cal­ity of Bandi­pora town termed the idea of sep­a­rate town­ships as an ill-con­ceived idea.

Pyaare Lal Butt, a re­tired Ac­coun­tant of Fi­nance Depart­ment, liv­ing along with his brother who is also a gov­ern­ment em­ployee, said that dur­ing past 26 years not a sin­gle un­to­ward in­ci­dent took place which could have forced us to mi­grate from Kash­mir.“We never felt in­se­cure here. We are safe and sound. We were not made tar­get by any­one here even dur­ing the peak of mil­i­tancy. We will feel in­se­cure in sep­a­rate town­ships,” he added.

Pyaare Lal said that around 10,000 Pan­dits in­clud­ing mi­grants par­tic­i­pated in “Maha Kumbh Mela” last week in Gan­der­bal and no­body was harmed, even Mus­lim brethren provided all sorts of help there. Rahul Koul, a gov­ern­ment em­ployee in Ve­teri­nary depart­ment, said that the idea of cre­at­ing ex­clu­sive town­ships would not re­solve any­thing and in­stead cre­ate gulf be­tween mi­nor­ity and ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity in the ter­ri­tory.

“In­ci­dents hap­pen ev­ery­where. They hap­pen in Delhi, Kolkata, Ut­tar Pradesh and else­where. Kash­mir is not a hos­tile place to live in. Dur­ing all these years we never felt un­safe,” he said.

Another Hindu family, who had mi­grated from Kash­mir in 1990 but came back in 2007, re­sid­ing in Kaloosa lo­cal­ity of Bandi­pora town, said that set­tling Kash­miri mi­grant Pan­dits in sep­a­rate town­ships was like caging them. Rakesh Ku­mar Koul, liv­ing along with his par­ents, wife and chil­dren, runs a pri­vate school in Kaloosa lo­cal­ity, said by cre­at­ing sep­a­rate colonies the au­thor­i­ties were try­ing to cre­ate wedge be­tween the two com­mu­ni­ties.—KMS

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