April 09, 2015

Kashmiri Pandits: Why we owe them a collective apology and a corrective action now

Comparing Kashmir with Palestine is an absurd, misplaced thought. Palestinians are a persecuted community, wronged by the west. Kashmiri pandits are also a persecuted but resilient community, wronged by the country because their number strength does not guarantee enough political mileage. Kasmiri Pandits are the Plaestinians of kasmir. The land belongs to them first, before anybody else.

They had to leave Kashmir for security reasons...no matter how good and welcoming the Kashmiris would be to them, there would always be threats to their security.  Goodwill does not solve security problem...it has been there all along...it was pretty much there in the late 80s and early 90s too but it could not stop their exodus. Kashmir today has become radicalized, The Kashmir in the early 20s do not view them a part their culture.

 I have had interactions with many Kashmiri Pandits​ in past 9 years, in Delhi and Punjab. The circumstances in which they had to leave Kashmir were unbearable. A kashmiri Pandit, 'Kaul' told me that her father decided to leave when his younger brother (her late uncle) was shot dead by a bullet fired from a worship place...not very far from her house.

In my interactions with them I came know to that Kashmir are divided on the basis of age. The older ones are still more welcoming but the generation that grew up after the militancy rise in Kashmir views them differently.

Most people in India are family oriented, who do not want to jeopardize the lives of their near and dear ones. The government should move ahead with the plan. If they cannot be settled in the mixed townships then there should be separate townships for them, in any case there would be dangers to their security but the later one has greater chances of success.

We, as a society, proud of our democracy, freedom of speech, our constitution owe a collective apology to our Kashmiri Pandit brethren.  

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