Return of Kashmiri Pandits


From start of 1947 till start of militancy in 1989, there has been slow exodus of KP’s especially of youth from valley due to lack of educational and employment facilities for them.

By one stroke of pen state Govt deprived K.P’S of land they owned when they passed” AGRARIAN ACT”. This act does not exist in whole of India, exception is West Bengal where this act was passed in highly modified form. This act not only deprived K.P’s of land they owned but were not even adequately compensated. Next came admission in professional colleges which was made difficult by formulating various rules. Nominations outside state decreased when professional colleges did not exist in valley and when such colleges came in state new recruitment rules were applied. 50% reservation for girls was introduced. Reservation under various categories, District wise allotment and Regionalism came in to play while giving admission in these colleges. Net result admission in professional colleges for K.P youth became a distant dream. One could not go to private colleges lying outside state because of high fees structure. With youth not getting in to professional colleges despite merit frustration crept in.They would in due course become unemployed as job opportunities in state were drying for them. Mind you this was happening when there was peace in Kashmir.

Now comes militancy in valley in 1990, K.P’s are asked to leave valley. Pamphlets would be pasted on walls and poles threatening K.P’s of severe consequences if they do not leave valley. At times even newspapers carried this threat. K.P’s decided to leave valley for their safety. Government which was supposed to protect its citizens was mute spectator to this ethnic cleansing of valley. It is now nearly 25 years they have been living in exile hoping to settle peacefully. In the meantime their property in valley either has been vandalized or taken over by Muslim’s in valley. Whenever K.P has been talking of this loot he is told he will be compensated. No such compensation has been given to him till today, INSTEAD Govt is talking of his return to valley. State Govt passed an order some time back giving Deputy Commissioners powers to secure K.P land and other property but all in vain. Locals with help of politicians continue to grab/encroach KP property with ease. In such a scenario Govt talk of KP return with dignity is at best hoax, possibly to extract funds from central Govt. Here is a state fooling New Delhi for their ulterior motives.

Under PM rehabilitation plan a few hundred KP youth have been employed in valley and in far-flung areas with strictures attached to their employment. Mind you these are areas even in peace one would be afraid to go. With continued hostilities in valley one has to seriously think about this slogan, “Return of KP’s”.

Rehabilitation package announced by then PM in 2007 is flawed as it is not possible for KP to live in scattered places in valley. PM package does not contain a single word about political dimensions of return of displaced persons which really is a serious matter. The scattered return module in clusters is a separatist elite strategy. There have been no concrete steps by successive Govts in valley to save property of community from clutches of antisocial elements in last 25 years. Present rehabilitation scheme is bereft of guar anting security to community. Various KP leaders who have meet central leaders including Mr. Modi have failed to give present day ground reality prevailing in valley. Instead they have been harping on money incentive coupled with formation of twin cities adjacent to Srinagar city. They on one hand tell Centre that there has been ethnic cleansing in valley citing International commission of jurist report, Zurich1995 but on other hand not high lighting how majority community will react to their return. Panun Kashmir demand for separate home land in valley is more appealing In this respect than twin city concept near Srinagar of some intellectuals. KP’s want a place where there is free flow of Indian constitution and not a place of confinement. Return of KP’s is not possible under prevailing circumstances as Pakistan continues to be involved in terrorist violence in valley.

With this scenario continuing, chances of peace a distant dream, KP return to valley is fraught with many dangers.KP return is at best a political slogan bereft of ground reality. Our leaders while talking to central leaders should be more practical and their approach on this matter should be more practical. We should not be philosophical and euphoric about our return to valley, ignoring past and what is in store for us if we return. We should ask ourselves---Does Kashmiri Muslim want us back, forget what an odd politician says who at best is untrust worthy.

A question comes to mind, where a person does makes his residence [Ashiyana]. Place he chooses is where he finds job, peaceful neighborhood, Education for his children, respect from people with whom he has to live and above all freedom of speech and work. When we analyze above facts, are these amenities available to him in valley if he goes back. Answer to question is blunt-- NO. Even if Kashmir becomes peaceful, a distant dream, can he live in valley with peace and respect? When answer is again no, then why are we talking about his return, an empty political slogan to fool masses.

The slogan of return should be replaced by” K.P rehabilitation”. Our leaders instead of asking for price money for return should tell state and Centre to rehabilitate K.P’s outside valley so that they are able to start life again on their terms and conditions rather be dictated by others what to do. Among other things we should ask for reservation in various professional colleges, academic institutions and job reservations. We should ask for adequate compensation for land, Orchards and buildings occupied by Muslims. It might be pertinent to tell here that “Batra Medical College” in Jammu was sanctioned by Centre as Minority College and KP’s are a minority in j and k state. At present 90% admissions in said college are given to Muslims most of whom belong to valley. State has been sanctioned five more medical colleges by Centre, why should n’t there be some seats in these colleges reserved for KP youth. We should also plead for speedy passage of “Hindu shrine bill” so that we are able to run our religious places without Govt interference. Central Govt has already sanctioned various schemes for Kashmiri Muslim youth by virtue of which they are getting admissions in various professional colleges outside state. Scholarships and financial assistance is also available to them. Benefit of these schemes should be extended to Kashmiri Pandit youth also.

Return of Kashmiri Pandit back to valley whatever the packages offered will have no takers except for a few greedy who lack vision but love money. I want to remind reader that KP left valley leaving everything behind. He left for dignity and honour. Will he get it back if he returns to valley again?
 *Dr. Makhan Lal Babu, Born and brought up in Kashmir, lived in Kashmir till his migration from valley in 1990. Retired as Professor and Head Neurosurgery from Institute of Medical sciences, Soura, Srinagar. Has published a lot of professional articles, both in national and international journals. His interests, besides medicine, are in Ancient history of Kashmir, Vedas and Ancient India. His focus is educating youth who are fast losing track of their glorious roots and culture.
Totally agree with the author Mr M. L. Babu. I believe most, most KPs have the same thoughts. The rest have not been told the whole plan by the leadership. So its leadership failure. Coming to leadership, we find a pleothra of organisations and as many leaders. Why aren't they coming together and forming one org and taking everyone with them ? May God help us ! Tatha Astu !
Added By Rakesh Raina
Sorry , i must have prefixed Dr. to the author's name. So its Dr. M.L. Babu
Added By Rakesh Raina
What would we say to our kids 50 years down the time line?.?.?. Should we leave our pious, holy mother land for invaders and separatists?.?.?. Can't we take some initiative (with selfless motives) to respect our motherland.?.?.?
Added By Samir Sar
Dr. M. L. Babu has done full justice to our cause by depicting all the events and aftermath in a lucid and vivid article. I surmise, he may not be politically affiliated to any party, otherwise such a truthful and candid narrative might not have come forward. He rightly suggests that the need of the hour is unity that alone could lead us to any specific destiny. God bless, Dr Babu for articulating a truthful writeup, that is rarely forth coming from 'committed leaders'.
I find talk of return of KP to valley quite a bit absurd at moment. We left valley due to threat on our dignity , honour. The slogans of " Chaliv , gaaliv nata raliv" or " Asi gachi kashir btanan san ta batan bagr" haunt us in our nightmares even after 25 years. 1/n
Added By Surbhi Razdan
Ofcourse I miss my homeland want to go back and live there but not until I am confident my safety n security are ensured. This cannot be ensured by putting armed forces everywhere, it will come only if KM come out vociferously demand KPs be back. This in itself is an utopian idea, as in last 25 years there is whole generation of KMs who have lived in a purely Islamic environment. 2/3
Added By Surbhi Razdan
For this generation of youth of Kashmir having a KP neighbour is an alien idea. It will be difficult for them to accept KPs back. I definitely don't want to go kashmir as a money spending tourist. Iam ok living all my home in "exile" rather than go as a tourist.
Added By Surbhi Razdan
I fully agree with Dr,Babu ,We left Kashmir to save our dignity and honor , It’s not an easy to leave our roots it always pains ,grief, heartbreak ,agony but we were forced to moved out from the Kashmir and Government don’t take any strong step to control the situation and still we are in exile and this exile is better than returning back as we can’t join hands with them
Added By sandeepa bhat