As the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community observes the Holocaust Day across the nation today, the community’s over thirty years’ long- ing of returning to their homes and hearth in the val- ley still continues to be a distant dream as the chances of creating a conducive environment there seems to have continues despite become bleak. This situation is a stark reality despite the fact that Assembly of erst- while Jammu and Kashmir State at one stage unani- mously passing a resolution for creating a conducive atmosphere for the return of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants to the Valley. It is quite unfortunate that there seems to be no progress on the issue till date.
While the memories of the tragic displacement contin- ue to haunt the migrants round the clock, the Holocaust Day especially reminds about the unfortu- nate circumstances in Kashmir that had forced the migration of Kashmiri Pandit community, members of Sikh community and some Muslims over 30 years ago.
It is high time for the nation to realize that return of the miniscule displaced Kashmiri Pandit commu- nity back to their homes after being in exile for over three decades shall have 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 democra- cy at least viz-a-viz this miniscule displaced communi- ty. Since their displacement in helpless situation the question of the KPs’ return has been raised innumer- able times but without any significant progress or achievement. Despite the successive governments coming out with doles by linking jobs with return, the efforts failed to yield any commendable results. The main hurdle in the way seems to be the security con- cerns as the embers of militancy still refuse to die down with certain target killings recently. Every time when the return initiative was taken up, the same got scuttled with voices of dissent mainly from the separatist camps by setting vague pre-condition that they should settle only at their original places know- ing well that majority of their properties have been sold in distress and the rest usurped by the disgruntled neighbours. Moreover, such a pre-condition also deprives a displaced citizen of the right to live at a place of choice. In the aftermath of havoc situation in 1989-90 everyone suffered, not just Pandits but even the Muslims as violence spares no one and does not discriminate between Muslims and Hindus. Despite the longing of the people of both the communities for establishing peace in the valley and to restore Kashmiriyat as it existed before 1989, besides all efforts being made by the government in this direction, the return of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits still seems to be unachievable. It needs to be realized by one and all that first every common Kashmiri in the valley needs to come out of the shackles of fret and fear cre- ated by the terrorists. The return which presently seems to be impossibility could definitely become a reality but for this the Majority community in the Valley needs to lead from the front with full support of the Administration of the newly formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Central government.
There is every reason to be optimistic about the digni- fied return of KPs to their homeland under the present dispensation headed by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha who has proved the ability to take development to new heights and that too at an unprecedented pace across the Union Territory. Moreover, Kashmiris have the abil- ity to build the bridges and regain their lost Kashmiriyat. On this Holocaust Day yet again it is hoped that once again Kashmir will show the way to those floundering in miasma, just as it showed the way to Mahatma Gandhi after tragic partition of the sub-continent. This alone could lead to safe and dignified return of the miniscule Kashmiri Pandit com- munity to the valley for which it has been yearning for the past more than three decades.