And the killings go on

Those KPs who braved to stay back in the valley are feeling more insecure now than before
"This statement shows how under present Central BJP government things have gone worse for the Pandit minority in Kashmir."
"This statement shows how under present Central BJP government things have gone worse for the Pandit minority in Kashmir."Special arrangement

Now that the frenzy created by the movie The Kashmir Files has ebbed out and coffers of the producers, actors and the sundry have been filled up to the brim, it is time to leave reels behind and face the reality.

We get the glimpse of it from none other than the Minister of State (MOS ), Nityanand Rai, who some days back informed Rajya Sabha that “killings of those from the minority community in the Kashmir Valley have peaked in 2021, as since 2019 four Kashmiri Pandits among 14 Hindus were killed by terrorists.”

He further said that in all 34 persons belonging to minority community were killed by the terrorists in J &K , in the last five years . One would have liked him to give numbers of the civilians and security forces also killed during the period.

Therefore, government’s claim that after August 5TH 2019 constitutional changes no bullet was fired by the militants stands belied. These killings go on unabated. A truck driver of minority community in Kulgam is the latest victim. Just before him a Kashmiri Pandit in Shopian area got added to the list of casualties .

These attacks have a specific message for those who go on promoting the film Kashmir Files and consider it as a panacea for all ills that befell the unfortunate Pandit community, in 1990. Those KPs who braved to stay back in the Valley are feeling more insecure now than they felt before 2019.

The older brother of the victim Pandit of Shopian district summed up it in plain words: that even after staying put the left over Pandits feel more threatened now and are on a rethink for staying back.

This statement shows how under present Central BJP government things have gone worse for the Pandit minority in Kashmir.

In Lok Sabha, while responding to a discussion on J & K budget, the FM Nirmala Sitharaman , having film in the mind, blamed Congress and the NC for the exodus of KPs from Kashmir.

She said, “Congress was an ally of the Government at the time of the exodus ( of Pandits ) and the then Chief Minister left people to fend for themselves when the terrorism was on the rise .” BJP has held Congress and NC responsible for the mass expulsion of KPs from the Valley.

Congress and NC blame BJP for the tragedy that befell the KPs by reminding that in 1990 it was the VP Singh led minority government in Delhi which drew strength from BJP that failed Pandits.

In this polemics the real ‘character’ - a KP - is lost in the way. It is a travesty that the tragic exodus of the Pandits from Kashmir is cast in a malleable narrative, easily to be moulded to garner votes in the mainland when occasion demands.

The displaced community must introspect where does it need to go from here; what next it has to do after the story of the community’s plight has been told and retold. It is time to move on. It won’t pay to be stuck in the slough of despondency .

Tears that rolled down the eyes and choking sobs of the movie viewers told the story of loss of inheritance, helplessness, despondency, broken promises, indifference and betrayal.

They were of self deception also. The community feels let down not only by the state but also by some of its very own, and those who claim to be the sympathisers.

Every one, with little bit of ingenuity, has cashed on its miseries – commercially or politically. Thirty two years down the line most of the displaced persons continue to live a miserable life: the young and not so young are without a job.

The employment package announced way back in 2008 has not been implemented fully. Other components of the PM package of 2008 have gone nowhere. Going to Kashmir as a compulsion of livelihood doesn’t mean rehabilitation there .

Nirmal Sitharaman informed Lok Sabha that Central government was committed to bring Kps home and settle them there honorably, and fullfill the promise made to them. Giving the numbers she said that government has built 1025 transit accommodation while about 1500 are under the process of construction.

These announcements have so far been the pious promises only, yet to materialise on the ground. We must tell the FM to have some cohesion in the return policy. One day a certain place is selected for the rehabilitation in Kashmir, next it is moved to the other place.

There is no regard for the opinion of the displaced community, nor is it taken on board when decisions affecting it are taken. The displaced Pandits expect PM Narendra Modi to walk the talk and ensure their rehabilitation back home soon. Time to show mere concern is well past.

B L SARAF, Former Principal District & Sessions Judge

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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