The news about return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley on the wish list of prime minister designate Narendra Modi has generated excitement among the members of the displaced community.
The return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir Valley, checking of influx of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and improving Centre-state relations were flagged among the key issues to be flagged by the home ministry for action by Modi when he assumes charge.
According to reports Modi has insisted on a plan for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, living in migrant camps in Jammu or in rest of the country.
"Narendra Modi is surely the hope of the country and we as a community are also watching it with interest,'' said Moti Kaul, president, All Indian Kashmiri Samaj, which according to him is "an organisation for Kashmiri Pandits created to voice the issues associated with the Kashmiri Pandit diaspora''.
The organisation had 50 chapters spread across the world.
"We have been in exile for 25 years and all of a sudden everything cannot change. We want them to sit together with representatives of the commununity and chalk out a rehabilitation programme. We are excited to the level that Mr Modi and his team shall pursue our return based on dignified and concentrated settlement in the valley," he added.
The organisation wants Modi to probe the reasons for their exodus as a priority. "We need to know why were we thrown out," Kaul said.
Kaul also talks about a satellite town for rehabilitating the Pandits. "We are not talking about any separate homeland but a township where we can live and other communities are also welcome to live till the initial fear is done away with," he adds.
There are many in the community who, however, feel that the policy for return and rehabilitation should not be looked through the prism of bureaucracy. "The older programmes like PM's package for
KPs failed as the programmes had no soul. The problem cannot be looked into based on ration cards and a few lakhs compensation. It has to be a reconciliatory process between the two communities.
The package has to be acceptable to both Muslims in Kashmir and KPs,'' said Suriender Ambdar, a political and social activist.
"Besides the community is spread across the world, our younger generation is working in prestigous places, there has to be something exciting to address the brain drain," added Ambdar.
For the 5,000 odd pandits still living in the valley, the problems are more mundane. "Our biggest problem like rest of the Kashmiri's is unemployment," said Sanjay Tikkoo, president, Kashmir Sangarsh Samiti.
"We have stayed on and braved so much, we also want that Modi should find a solution to the Kashmir problem and that will lead to return of pandits to the valley. Modi has to address the political distancing of Kashmiris (Muslims) from the country, human rights violation and then integration of KPs will be possible. Having a separate homeland for Kashmiris is no answer," he said. "Than Mr Modi will have to have a home land for Ladakhis , a Bodo land, Khalistan and God knows what all," he added.