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Resolution on Migrants’ return

J&K Legislative Assembly and council have adopted a “unanimous” resolution saying. “all the political parties should put in all out efforts at their disposal for creating a conducive atmosphere for the safe return of all the migrants especially Kashmiri Pandits, who had to migrate from Kashmir valley to other parts of the country under difficult circumstances”.  It is for the first time in twenty-seven years that the two houses have passed a resolution expressing its desire that the migrants should return and that can be done only when the atmosphere is conducive.
The truth is that the Legislature has taken up the issue of the migration of the Pandit minority community a number of times in the course of debates on various issues in the House. It has been under constraints in framing unanimous opinion on what to say on the issue and how to say it. The pressure was from separatists and terrorists who had accelerated their anti-state activities to a large extent. No doubt security has been provided to the MLAs and MLCs but the ramification of a decision that would lead to melting down the opposition to the migrants could be deep and wide. The legislators had to take cautious steps. The matter remained in limbo all these years. The adopting of resolution does not mean that the migrants will be taken back overnight. It only indicates the commitment on the part of the legislators that the right thing has to be done at right time. We understand that the government is seized of a scheme of creating transit camps in the valley for the migrants in the first instance so that they are housed for a year or two and then with softening of postures, a time will come when interaction among the minority and majority community members will grow gradually to the extent that the Pandits feel they are not as much threatened in the valley as the apprehensions were. This is the scheme which the State government is working on. The Agreement of PDP-BJP Alliance also stipulates the return and rehabilitation of the migrants.
The question is whether conditions have become or are likely to become normal in the valley that prompts the assembly to adopt a resolution. To be very honest, one cannot say that situation has become as normal as it should be. Perhaps that stage may never come again owing to fast movement of events in the sub-continent and the region. Nevertheless, there has not been any major attack on religious minority in the valley after the first fury of jihad was over. Hopefully people have begun to realize that much more progress could have been made and many projects implemented if armed insurgency had not surfaced way back in 1990. There are many saner elements in and outside the government and in Kashmiri civil society who recognize that unjust treatment was meted out to the Pandits and there was great need of re-establishing good will among the people. Rehabilitating the Pandits in transit camp is part of confidence building mission undertaken by the Modi government.
Finally, the modus operandi of return and rehabilitation of the KPs has not been touched in the resolution except the pious desire of their return to the valley. We would have appreciated if the contours of their return and rehabilitation had also been touched on. The migrated Pandits are indigenous residents of the valley and they have the right to be in their homeland. It is now the duty of the legislators in both houses to undertake a full-blooded campaign of disseminating the message peaceful, co-existence among the people of the State. However, it is not enough just to say that the Pandits are the part of Kashmir and that Kashmir society is poorer without them. The point is that favourable conditions will be created not by using brute force but by engaging civil society in a meaningful dialogue. The resolution on KPs; return and restitution in the valley should have the approval of the migrants themselves because it is they who are the sufferers and they have borne maximum brunt of armed insurgency.

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