Kashmiri Pandits, refugees in their own country - human rights ignored over 26 years

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26 years now since Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) saw the beginning of the cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits, the indigenous inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir, from their homeland at the wish of Kashmiri Jihadi facet. J&K, the land which was once centre of tranquillity is now centre of disruptive activities. The issue of justice to Kashmiri pandits is a long outstanding demand and one should not paint this as a matter of prestige or paint this is as a Hindu Vs Muslim rather nationalist Vs Anti-nationalist.


They have sailed and are still sailing through several tribulations but hope and tenacity have got them going for all these 26 years . Alas, India is the only country where our own citizens live like refugees away from their native homeland and infiltrators get the citizenship without any complexity. It is the need of hour to transform India into "Akhand Bharat".

Supplanted  in your own country and completely marginalised from the national discourse. That in  ways sums up the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in India. One of the significant human tragedies since partition, a lost community and perhaps at one level a lost generation. It is regretful that in India we lash every roots with the roots of religion. The Kashmiri Pandits have  been completely marginalised and ignored from the national discourse and politics. Political parties for the mere sake of vote bank politics have continued to ignore the genuine plight of innocent kashmiri pandits and hence they are still sailing through several tribulations.

26 years when one of the significant human tragedies since partition occurred Neither Vishwanath Pratap Singh, the then prime minister and his cabinet had the idea of how to deal with the situation. There were various options available but lack of will. The first recourse was to direct the Army to re-establish Indian domination over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as a penal measure. Pakistan by then had not acquired nuclear weapon.  We could have, therefore, easily dominated the POK without the present fear of a nuclear war. But due to lack of will & in-effective leadership the then Government did not exercise this option.

Abolish 370, Rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits

Article 370 of Indian constitution just reduced them to nil and liquidated their population as Article 370 is nothing but a sense of loyalty towards the disloyal friend Pakistan. Article 370 is something which is not only harming India, but is doing a serious damage to Kashmir and its socio-cultural fabric itself. It has detached the people of Jammu and Kashmir for long, its time they benefit as Equal citizens of India. The future will be tough since politicians for mere vote bank politics and polarization would resist the removal. Though Art 370 has not been of much benefit to residents of J&K and has been major hurdle for economic progress in J&K. It is needed to make Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) integral part of India .

The Kashmiri Pandits have been waiting for 26 years hoping that the day of their return with honour and security to their homeland would come but the plight of the Pandits has been slowly forgotten and mainstreamed only during the elections. Everybody sheds crocodile tears over their sufferings, but no one is really ready to act. Sad but inevitable, the vital question is that will they ever get justice in their own homeland.

It is the inordinate human tragedy of modern times. The parody of being a Kashmiri Pandit, can't live in his own land, and yet living in his own country as a refugee. In fact, return of kashmri pandit is their constitutional right .The UPA government was not at all serious in their efforts of rehabilitating displaced Kashmiri pandits . In 2008, the  then Prime minister Dr.Manmohan Singh announced an employment package of Rs 1618 crore to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits, but out of 6000 jobs only 1446 took the offer. The reason for this low response was quite legitimate fear of security and safety. It is not easy to forget those gruesome incidents which drove life in exile, that too, in our own country.

The Kashmiri Pandits should get a respectable safe zone in Kashmir where they can practice their faith without fear, where they are not  killed and women  are not raped for just  being Hindu and Indian. The most significant human tragedies since partition, a lost community and perhaps at one level a lost generation is not easy to forget.  Even though they have spent last 26 years outside the Valley, the longing to come back has not faded. Kashmiri Pandit’s express emotions in in their broken voices,  often punctuated by sighs . True, many Pandits may have moved on with their lives outside Kashmir, but the hearts of many more still beat for the valley. It’s unfortunate India is the only country where our own citizens live like refugees away from their native homeland.

The demand for justice is legitimate the state government must re-open prosecution cases against all those who were involved in the killings of Kashmiri Pandits &  Government of India must institute a Commission of Inquiry. I wonder why Hurriyat and Pakistan is against rehabilitation of the natives. According to Hurriyat resettling Kashmiri pandits in the valley tantamount to turning Kashmir into a  Hindu Rajya.  If anyone is forcibly made to go out of his home, it is inevitable to him that he has to fight back to get it. This is the case in J&K also.

The identity of innocent Kashmiri Pandits should not be obliterated from the tapestry of Jammu and Kashmir. Enough time has flown down and it is the right time to restore their constitutional rights. It’s the need of hour that PDP-BJP government must fulfil their election promise on Kashmiri Pandits rehabilitation and resettlement .

Written by Himadrish Suwan >>

Himadrish Suwan is a student of DU & a regular contributor for various leading registered magazines and e-magazines. He is the youngest Recipient of the International Young Achievers award in the field of Media & Information Activism. He is also a well acquainted RTI activist. He was recently included in the list of India’s Top 6 “Young Powerful Change-makers”.
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Indian Exponent: Kashmiri Pandits, refugees in their own country - human rights ignored over 26 years
Kashmiri Pandits, refugees in their own country - human rights ignored over 26 years
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