Kashmir, the paradise on earth, was smeared with blood more than two decades ago. Kashmiri Pandits were slaughtered and they were made to leave their homes and their lands with the rise of militancy. Since then, Kashmiri Pandits are running and wherever they tried to settle down, they were treated as refugees in their own country.
To ease their pain, the central government and state government have started an initiative – resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. Around 10,000 Kashmiri families displaced during that period will be returned to their homeland.
PDP-BJP coalition led government have started acquiring lands in order to build these townships. These townships will offer flats to the displaced family under certain reservations and their families will be provided with 20 lakh rupees for buying the flats in these townships. This is a special step that is taken by the state government, and the center too supports them in this issue.
However, there is one thing that needs instant attention. The state and the center government started this initiative with the intention of re-establishing lost ethnicity and religious diversity of the valley. However, this program raised many questions as well. The separatist leaders blamed the government that this is not the township government is building for the displaced families; it is a ‘ghetto’. On the other hand, Kashmiri Pandits want to live in the ghetto as they don’t want to live with their neighbours who are enemies as well. They have still not forgotten the way fellow Kashmiris, but Muslims, kicked them out of their homes in the early 90s.
Considering all the arguments regarding the rehabilitation program, the government came to a decision that the Muslims will not be provided with any subsidy or reservation; they can acquire property in these special township with their own expenses. Is it a merry bell or a danger alarm?
The Kashmiri Pandits and the native Muslims of Kashmir are the two flammable chemicals and when kept together in a vessel, will certainly result in an explosion. There is a reason that Kashmiri Pandits do not want to live together with Kashmiri Muslims. When Kashmir was boiling, they were abused, raped and attacked by their fellow Kashmiris, albeit Muslims.
In these times of extreme tension, the governments should tread carefully. There is no need to hurry. Unless there is sound, practical decision borne out of discussions with all stakeholders, don’t decide. Rehabilitation of a lost community is significant, but what is critical is to ensure that Kashmir does not witness what it did decades ago.