WANT A DIGNIFIED RETURN

With the festival of Mela Kheer Bhawani drawing near the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been relentlessly reviewing the arrangements for the sacred occasion for the Kashmiri Pandits, making special arrangements for facilitating free travel for Kashmiri Pandit community members from Delhi to Tulmulla Ganderbal as well as from Jammu to sanctum sanctorum, besides ensuring the best security arrangements for the annual festival. While the efforts of the government are quite appreciative, at the same time on such occasions the Kashmiri Pandits are haunted by the memories of their exodus from the valley and what could be more ironic than the fact that this miniscule community continues to yearn for its safe and honourable return to the valley despite about three decades of exile. The return of the members of this community back to their homes has a huge bearing not only on the J&K government but the whole nation because if the nation fails to make the return a reality, then undoubtedly India will be labelled as a failed democracy at least viz-a-viz this miniscule displaced community. Since their displacement in helpless situation the question of the KPs’ return has been raised innumerable times but without any significant progress or achievement. The Kashmiri Pandit organizations conveyed to the central government including the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the return of this miniscule community is not possible till a separate homeland is carved for them in the valley. Though the idea of homeland may seem impossible to many but the prevailing scenario across the nation in which the communal passions are being exploited to the hilt by a national party that ruled the nation for maximum time since independence. Even today for the Kashmiri Pandits there could be nothing more tragic than becoming refugees in their own state and the nation. What an irony? Despite the successive governments coming out with doles by linking jobs with return, the efforts have not yielded any commendable results. The main hurdle in the way seems to be the security concerns as the embers of militancy refuse to die down on account of multiple state and non state factors. Every time when the return initiative is taken up, the same gets scuttled with voices of dissent mainly from the separatist camps playing smart by saying that KPs should return to their original residences and not to separate townships, knowing very well that over ninety percent properties of this community have been either sold in distress or illegally occupied by certain disgruntled neighbours. The return which presently seems to be impossibility could definitely become a reality in the time to come but for that it is the Majority community in the Valley that needs to lead from the front. However, the central government can play the role of a vital catalyst in the return of this shattered community by reining in the separatist and pseudo-secular elements both in governance and otherwise especially in the state and address the issue in the proper perspective without any partisan interests. It is hoped that the Prime Minister will pay due heed to it and address the issue in order to make the return of KPs to their homeland with full dignity, honour and security possible, for which they have been yearning for the past about three decades.