This refers to the piece ‘Pandit Conundrum’ by M.L. Kotru (DE 2 May 2015). It is one thing to live in the western world and pay a casual visit to Kashmir once a while and another thing to have been extirpated from homeland on religious count.
The writer, like most of the stakeholders, cannot come out of the deep confusion about the issue of Pandit return. He is jumping form one confusion to another making a mockery of all he wants to say. Let me put some fact about Kashmir in place. Neither Pakistan can take an inch of Indian Kashmir nor will Kashmir Valley Muslims ever become pro-Indians. People in the valley are for Pakistan. Exiled Pandits are for Bharat. Bringing Pandits back to valley means bringing Bharat to Kashmir. This is what the Kashmiris have been fighting against for last two decades and have sacrificed thousand of youth. How do you expect valley Muslims to accept the returning Pandits?
Pandits belong to Kashmir. They will return and resettle as they like including a separate township if they so desire. That is not going to make another Israel in Kashmir. Bhatindi in Jammu is a 99 per cent enclave of Kashmiri Muslims and Gujjars. Narwal, Gujjar Nagar and other enclaves in Jammu are predominantly if not exclusively Muslim localities. Jammu Hindus never called it a second Israel.
Why does the writer think Pandit township will become a ghetto? Kashmiris have imported thousands of labourers from UP, Bihar and Bangladesh to work on their farms, orchards, households as domestics. Thousands of these imported persons are working as skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers — barbers, cooks, tailors, plumbers, electricians etc. Pandits, when in their township, will also import thousands of these semi-skilled workers. Residents of Bhatindi, Narwal, Gujjar Nagar, Khatikan Talab etc. in Jammu, too, have inducted hundreds of these migratory semi-skilled workers (mostly Muslims). Nothing wrong in that. Pandits will follow suit.
There is also talk of security. Majority good will is the best security. But it is not forthcoming. Majority showed it through anti-Pandit return demonstrations and one day complete strike. Fine, let us accept it. Those who are ruling over Kashmir today —-politicians, administrators, bureaucrats, functionaries etc. most of them are protected by the Indian army or security forces in the shape of body guards, PSOs etc. It is an elaborate protective mechanism in place. Pandits also have the right to approach the President of India to provide them security en masse and the President cannot refuse it. If the rulers have a right to be protected by Indian army why not the civilians in a township? Pandits can also think of protecting themselves by inviting “guest protectors”