Return of the Kashmiri Pandits

Return of the Kashmiri Pandits

India’s newly elected Prime Minister Mr. Modi leading National Democratic Alliance (NDA=BJP+ other supporting parties) seems committed towards ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus of Kashmir valley who had left Kashmir in 1990’s when the armed conflict broke out).Though it is not the first rehabilitation package of its kind but certainly appreciable and unique as the PM though having recently taken over is fast delivering on his promises. The whole Kashmiri Muslim society seems equally happy about the idea, who have communally labelled a lot and even sometimes treated responsible for the Pandit exodus, which is however a concocted myth. The fact remains that when the turmoil hit the valley in 1989 and armed conflict started, the law and order literally collapsed and everyone’s life got endangered and the minorities turned doubly vulnerable and left their homes in distress. It is not that Muslims wanted them to leave but lamented their forced migration. Not only Pandits but many Kashmiri Muslims left the valley in panic. Now the home ministry is all set to approve an enhanced package of Rs. 20 lakh (2 million INR) per family for re-construction of their houses in the Valley. The step is undoubtedly a timely and appreciable decision with a human touch. However, the question is about the very design and methodology of the idea of “making the return” after a gap of more than two decades with lots of apprehensions still in the collective psyche. The new rehabilitation plan should not be merely incentive based like the previous plans and packages but top priority must be given to the very question of security and safety of the human lives involved, as the uncertainty has not gone from the valley. Also there has to be a holistic and comprehensive rehabilitation of not only Pandits but all the migrant groups or individuals be that Kashmiri Muslims, Pandits, Sikhs or Christians or others. Even all those need to be amply compensated whose nears and dears lost their lives or turned handicapped during the conflict situation. All those need to be helped whose business got affected due to the armed conflict. Politicising the Pain of Pandits Since Pandits left the valley, their pain and...

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