Thursday, May 30, 2024

BJP’s plan for Kashmiri Pandits is unrealistic

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be speaking through its hat when it claims that it wants to resettle Kashmiri Hindu pandits back in the Kashmir Valley.

Ram Madhav, the national general secretary of the BJP, has told Reuters that his party is looking to resettle displaced Kashmiri Pandits in exclusive camps and provide enough security for it to happen.

But the idea is being lampooned by Kashmiri Pandit leaders themselves who claim that building exclusive settlements with enhanced security was an unrealistic solution.

Said Sanjay Tickoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS): “Is it possible to live in a caged manner, in a caged zone, with security? One has to move out of that township, have to work, have to earn. I cannot get everything in that township.”

Subhash Kaul, an uprooted Kashmiri, who has now settled in Bangalore and runs a cricket coaching centre, said:  “The effort of the government of resettlement is too little, too late. It would not be possible for the generation next of the migrated people to leave everything again and settle back in the valley.”

Ram Madhav, in his interview said his party was planning to revive the strategy of resettlement of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. He said his party is committed to bring back 2-3 lakh displaced Kashmiri Pandits. The exodus of  Kashmiri Hindus happened in the aftermath of rise of Islamic fundamentalism and separatist organisations which began to emerge in the Kashmir valley in 1989.

Accepting that almost a similar plan was devised by the previous BJP coalition government in the State, where building either separate or mixed resettlement townships was considered, but no headway could be made, Madhav said: “No consensus could be built around any one view.”

Ram Madhav was convinced that it was the fundamental right of Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley. “At the same time, we have to provide them proper security,” he said.

Many Kashmiri Hindus still are haunted by the events of January 19, 1990 when mosques began issuing diktats that Pandits were Kafirs and ordered them to leave or convert to Islam or get killed. They were also asked to leave their women behind. The Kashmiri Muslims were instructed to identify Pandit homes so they could be systematically targeted for conversion or killing.

The Pakistani media has reacted with mixed response to the BJP’s commitment of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits. While welcoming the move, ‘The Dawn’ reported that separatist groups in the region had opposed the project, with some likened it to Israeli settlements within Palestinian territories. “If you put them in separate colonies, in settlements and under barbed wire, that kills the whole purpose of trying to build, again, a community, which is based on mutual trust and respect,” reports Dawn.  

The leaders from the valley echoed the voices and concerns across the border.  National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the two main regional parties in Kashmir, said they supported the return of Hindus but were opposed to separate townships.

The government will have to ensure that history does not repeat itself. They would be attempting to resettle the community in the Valley which is neck-deep into religious fanaticism, violence and Pakistan-backed terrorism.


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