Return of Kashmiri Pandits: J&K separatists’ sinister move

The separatist Hurriyat Conference (HC)’s move to help facilitate the return of Pandits who fled the Kashmir after militancy erupted in the state in 1989 is far removed of sincerity. It is seen as an effort to scuttle Centre’s move withdraw Article 370 and 35A which will remove special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

The move is being propounded by HC led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Kashmiri Pandits living in Delhi and other parts of the country feel that this is a clear ploy by Mirwaiz to defeat the Centre’s plan to allow people from other parts of the country settle in Kashmir.  According to them, separatists had never talked about the rights of Kashmiri Pandits or taken up their cause all these years and this “new-found love is not without reason”.  “Their (separatists’) fear is our new ‘no-nonsense’ Home Minister, Amit Shah. They feel Govt might be working on a plan to reclaim Kashmir by settling rest of India there. As a part of their nervousness, they have realized its better to work with miniscule yet intellectually powerful Kashmiri Hindu community,” writes Koshur Rohit, a Kashmiri Pandit activist.

The larger game is to play to the galleries of the international community. They have got a whisper that Kashmiri Hindus might approach the UNHRC. They feel the Govt might tactically support them in the background ever since the word ‘Genocide’ was mentioned by the Home Secretary.

According to Rohit, the separatists’ strategy is to “prop up a new leadership among Kashmiri Hindus with the help of their ecosystem and call for return of the community. This way they can show how secular they are and wash the blood on their hands. At the same time, they can showcase to the Govt that since Kashmiri Hindus are slowly returning, there is no need to touch 370 or settle other Hindus.”

Rohit states: “The larger game is to play to the galleries of the international community. They have got a whisper that Kashmiri Hindus might approach the UNHRC. They feel the Govt might tactically support them in the background ever since the word ‘Genocide’ was mentioned by the Home Secretary. And, if they are successful in passing a favourable resolution, the Govt might get a reason to act tougher in their bid to push for justice for Hindus. They fear as an alibi to those strong steps, the Govt might come down heavily on them.”

Mirwaiz has said: “The return of Kashmiri Pandits is a humanitarian problem and the concept is to involve all. In principle, we have decided to work with Kashmiri Pandits and civil society to build trust. Intercommunity interaction is very important.”

More than 154,080 people moved out of the Valley in 1990 after pro-Pakistan elements launched an effort to cleanse the Valley of Kashmiri Pandits. Hundreds of men were killed, women were raped and brutalized.

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