The Pandit return

Has the time really arrived or it's bare words floating in the air

OTHER OPINION

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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