The Pandit return
Has the time really arrived or it's bare words floating in the air
B L SARAF
Speaking to the media in New Delhi, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah promised to restore sense of security in Kashmiri Pandits who left the Valley and asked them to explore possibility of returning, as time is conducive to initiate the process. The Chief Minister has realised that action must speak in this regard. He said “ ….. But I think in the case of the Kashmiri Pandits returning home words are not sufficient. It is the action that will speak. And the action will speak much louder than bare words. Pandits did not leave because of something they heard, they left because of something they faced. Their sense of security was snatched from them. Their livelihoods were snatched away. Unless that sense of security is restored in them words are meaningless.” Then went on to say, “ No matter how much one speaks about it those words should be followed by actions and those actions must result in Kashmiri Pandits feeling a sense of security to come back.”
Encouraging words indeed ! Omar Abdullah is right in saying that action on the part of the government has not so far matched the words. We may add neither the intentions nor the available indications from the official quarters are hope inspiring in this regard. Instances could be quoted chapter and verse to prove the point.
Since the CM has reflected sincerely on the matter it will not be advisable to spoil the mood. Nonetheless, Pandits do see a couple of issues confronting them where government can pack action to the words. It should shun dithering and start with passage of Kashmiri Hindus Protection and care of temples and religious places law, for which a Bill is pending in the Assembly since 2009. After all it is the present N C Finance Minister who then, as a leader of the opposition, introduced the Bill for this purpose in the previous Assembly. The aim and objective for which the Bill was introduced then continue to remain valid even now. Pandits are told that some influential persons are against the law. Well, Pandits know these were the forces who fought, tooth and nail, the Mata Vaishnav Devi management law also. But against the will of the government of the day they had to bite the dust. It is time to demonstrate same political and administrative will. The passage of this Bill would, undoubtedly, constitute a biggest CBM for the displaced Pandit community.
CM said that as good will gesture the state had taken back a large number of KPs in the government jobs. Under PM's package about fifteen hundred Pandit boys and girls have been given employment in the Valley. While as the package envisages employment for six thousand displaced youth. Further recruitment has been stopped for no reason at all when it is being funded by the central government. The unemployed youth are on the streets fighting for their rights. So, as a proof of action taken the stalled recruitment process should resume without any delay. Another component of the package was creation of Housing Cooperative Societies for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons. Number of the interested persons approached the authorities with the proposals in this behalf but they were turned back. It is all the more imperative for the displaced persons to have land in the Valley to raise houses because their lands have disappeared and in most cases have been taken over by the government. Even properties of the religious places have not been spared. Let Omar Abdullah get real and restore those properties to the owners and allow formation of Housing Co-operative Societies. Besides, it is time for initiating measures for the Pandit’s political and economic empowerment.
A rejuvenating spring breeze is blowing across the Valley which beckons Pandits. Things are shaping favourably for them. Thanks to the efforts of Kashmir civil society and a common Kashmiri, some of them have embarked upon the process of return. Hurriyat leaders are also playing a positive part in the process by assuring the displaced community of social guarantee and support in reclaiming the lost properties in the Valley. Surely, it is despite the government and not because of it. Omar Abdullah would do the state and the Pandits a great favour if he does not repeat what he is reported to have said in the press conference about militants not targeting Kashmiri Pandits now. These kind of words won’t help cause of an one living in J&K. Unwittingly may be, the statement has a potential to give cue to the undesirable elements to create a mischief. We are not out of woods as yet.
(B L Saraf is Former Pr. District & Sessions Judge)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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