Govts have done nothing, says Pandits’ group
The Kashmiri Pandit agreed to form a committee, comprising members of the separatist Hurriyat, civil society, displaced Pandits and those from the community who continued living in the Valley, to coordinate the process of the return following its meeting with Farooq.Updated: Jul 06, 2019, 09:53 IST
A four-member Kashmiri Pandit group, which met separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday to discuss the return of their displaced community to the Valley, on Friday accused the state and central governments of not being serious about their homecoming.
“For the last 30 years, state and central governments have made no effort for the return. There has been a biased approach regarding employment and health care. Kashmiri Pandits have been ignored,” the group’s leader, Satish Mahaldar, said at a press conference here. The group agreed to form a committee, comprising members of the separatist Hurriyat, civil society, displaced Pandits and those from the community who continued living in the Valley, to coordinate the process of the return following its meeting with Farooq.
Mahaldar said they came to Kashmir to talk to all political leaders, the local brethren and were looking forward to their return. “We also interacted with the Hurriyat leaders, who condemned the 1990 episode of the exodus of the Pandits,” Mahaldar said. “They said they will fight for the justice to Pandits and our return and rehabilitation. With immediate effect, a committee has been formed so that the process can be taken forward.”
He underlined the Hurriyat may have talked about their return but it is ultimately the responsibility of the government to bring them back.
Mahaldar said they were victims of the state-sponsored terrorism in 1990 that forced the Pandits to move out. “More Pandits died of extreme temperatures and diseases outside than those who died or were targeted in Kashmir.”
He said all political parties has “encashed us for their personal gains” and that international organisations and the National Human Rights Commission, too, turned a blind eye to their plight.
Mahaldar asked the government to take concrete steps like providing them land in different districts, where the Pandits can come and live with Muslims. “We have been asking government to provide land where people of all religions live together but they are not serious at all,” he said.
He said 90% properties of Kashmiri Pandits have either been burnt or sold under distress. “There are many Pandits who can’t buy land and come back. The government is not doing enough.” Mahaldar accused the state and central government of suppressing their voice.
Government spokesman Rohit Kansal refused to comment on the group’s engagement with the separatists saying he would only respond to a written query. There was no response to HT’s written query until Friday evening.
A message to governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday went unanswered.