In Dire Need of Rehab Package, Appeal Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley

Written by Teesta Setalvad | Published on: October 24, 2016
First Published on: October 7, 2016

KPSS Appeals to both Prime Minister Modi and HM Rajnath Singh to immediately extent the financial rehabilitation package recommended by the Parliamentary Standing  Committee to the Rajya Sabha in 2009 and then again, in 2014.


Kashmiri Pandits
Kashmiri Pandits             Image for representation purpose only        Image: Zee News        

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) through its President Sanjay Tickoo has appealed to prime minister Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh to urgently disburse the return and rehabilitation package meant and designed for Kashmiri Pandits who dared stayed on in the valley. Sharing this communication with Sabrangindia, Sanjay Tickoo says that the situation of about 125 families of Kashmiri Pandits out of the total 808 who have stayed on in the Valley is extremely precarious since all economic activity has been at a standstill for close to three months.
 
On February 13, 2009 (Report Nos 137) and February 14, 2014 (Report Nos 179) respectively, the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home Affairs presented its cogent recommendations on a complete package for financial assistance to the Rajya Sabha. These recommendations came without conditions and stated that if such rehabilitation and reparation was not provided –as soon as possible -- to the Kashmiri Pandits who stayed back in Kashmir, the very existence of the Community was?is under threat.(Copies of the report are already submitted with the communication dated 26.12.2015)
 
Sabrangindia has been consistently focusing on the plight of these Pandit families especially after the recent round of tensions and conflict. In an interview done on September 4, 2016, Sanjay Tickoo had spoken candidly about the dangers imminent to the Kashmiri Pandits still staying in the valley .

Sanjay Tickoo, president of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti,

Sanjay Tickoo, president of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti
 
Nearly a year ago, last December, before the outbreak of the current round of tensions, the KPSS had written to the PMO reminding the prime minister of the long overdue promises. Again, in the recent and urgent appeal dated October 3, 2016, the KPSS states that in a detailed communication vide dated December 26, 2015, the prime minister was requested to ‘to extend PM’s Relief/Return and Rehabilitation Package for the Kashmiri Pandit families who stayed back in Kashmir  Valley despite all odds, but till date nothing stands done in this regard and we the left out Nationalist Kashmiri Pandit Community living in Kashmir Valley are living a “Neglected Life”. ‘
 
Kashmir Pandits Letter to PM
Click here for full text of letter
 
The ten month old communication as also the more recent one (four days ago) reiterates that the condition of the Kashmiri Pandit families living in Kashmir Valley is pitiable and precarious. It points to the peculiar dilemma of the community members who, braving all odds, decided to stay on, being stuck in the proverbial rock and a hard place! For the rest of Kashmiris pitted as they are against the Indian state, “being, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Kashmir is an offence, as for Majority Community we are 'Indian Agents'; and for the Kashmiri Pandit Community who chose to leave Valley in 1990, the Pandits who stayed back are treated as ‘Traitors’ as the act of staying back in Valley itself is negative propaganda for the creation of a ‘Panun Kashmir’.” 
 
Hence the KPSS has, again appealed to make good policy promises of rehabilitation / upgradation reiterated by successive governments in Delhi that have not followed through. The letter further states that while there have been raised hopes from the current local government led by the People’s Democratic Party, as they have previously also tried their best to provide some relief to the left out Kashmiri Pandit Community living in Kashmir Valley, “the bureaucratic set-up both at the Centre and in the State is a hurdle, still behaving in a step motherly way with us. It is really 'unfortunate'", says the letter, "that the Central Government is also choosing to be blind towards the plight of the left out Kashmiri Pandit Community living in the Valley despite all the big / small contributions made by this left-out Nationalist Community towards the integrity of the Country and its sovereignty. Though, we don’t have any mandate under 'Vote Politics' but being born 'Nationalist' we hope that we deserve better life than what we are forced to live in."
 
The communication further states that the government –both- central as well as state-- are worried about the plight only of the Kashmiri Pandit Migrants who left the Valley or those Kashmiri Muslims who are in direct confrontation with the Administration. In this tug of war situation the 'left-out and abandoned Kashmiri Pandit population' have been marginalized and left bereft, having to fall back on their miniscule numbers for survival.
 
The current turmoil in Kashmir Valley has taken a bitter toll of this 'left out community' economically, in addition to other kinds of suffering faced by the Community, as most of the Kashmiri Pandits families living in Kashmir are on small, private jobs. As almost all the private concerns that were active in Kashmir have either closed down their offices situated in the Kashmir Valley due to prevailing conditions or they have stopped the salaries of their staff because of non-productivity in past months, people have simply no incomes. The despair faced by the families have led them to contemplate leaving the Valley permanently to earn bread and butter. If this comes to pass, states the letter, this will in no way help the rehabilitation policies of the centre or state governments. It is point of immediate concern that needs to be addressed right now else, it will be too late.
 
The KPSS also points out that the prevalent conditions and recent turmoil in the Kashmir Valley was also, among other challenges, a litmus test of the policies executed by the central and state government regarding the return and rehabilitation of the migrant Kashmiri Pandit community. However much of these were sought to be executed without any effective homework or ground work.
 
Hence, the KPSS has appealed that both the central and state governments start the policy of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits with the 'left out population', as this will help in two major ways; one, the living condition of the Pandit population and second, an effective and permanent “branding ” of the rehabilitation policy for the rest of the world in general and Kashmiri Pandit population (who live on the other side of Pir Panjal Range) in particular. If such effective logistical support is provided, none will ever think of leaving the Valley, argues the KPSS.
 
Hence this fervent appeal to both the prime minister and the home minister for financial assistance under the PM’s Relief and Rehabilitation package to be extended immeditaly and in full to the 808 Kashmiri Pandit  families have who stayed back in Kashmir Valley.  This is imperative for their survival. 

Are the governments listening ?
 

References:

1) Beyond the Miasma: The Plight of Kashmiri Pandits
2) J&K: Dangerous Demographics: Linking Article 370 with the Pandits’ return
3) Good News from the Valley: Insaaniyat for Pandits and Yatris

4) कश्मीर में कर्फ्यू तोड़ मुसलमानों ने बचाई अमरनाथ तीर्थयात्रियों की जान
5) Kashmiri Pandits: At Home in Our Valley with Jobs
6) Kashmiri Pandit Sampat Prakash begins hunger strike against separate townships