Let Truth and Reconciliation than Politics inform Pandits Return

Let Truth and Reconciliation than Politics inform Pandits Return

Addressing a conference of Kashmiri Pandits, minister of state in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh has stated that “the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has no objection to setting up of a homeland, township or colonies for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. Singh had added that “it was for Kashmiri Pandits to decide what they want”. On their part, the Kashmiri Pandits demanded the implementation of the 1991 Margdarshad resolution which calls for carving out of a homeland for ‘seven lakh’ Kashmiri Pandits with Union Territory status in Kashmir. There are many dimensions to the Singh’s statement. First, it is an in your face provocation to Kashmiri Muslims. The reasons pertain to the very nature of what Singh proposes: a separate homeland or townships or clusters for Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. This is an odious practice rendered into an art form by Israelis in Palestine. What it has engendered there and in all likelihood in Kashmir too, if implemented, is estrangement and hostility between peoples. Second, it is not in the nature of a settlement but it adds another layer to the conflict in and over Kashmir. If there is mutual estrangement between communities and if it is overlain by power and power politics, then there is every possibility of growing resentment in Kashmir. Third, it amounts to mollycoddling Kashmiri Pandits at the expense of Kashmiri Muslims whose fears and perceptions of being dealt a bad hand will get validated. Added up, the resettling of Kashmir Pandit’s along the lines preferred by Kashmiri Pandits, validated and encouraged by Jitendra Singh and his party, also amounts to what can be termed as a militarized and cloistered parallel existence and community life. This, in turn, means creating schizophrenic communities at odds with each other. The premise for a settlement of this kind is not clear but what is obvious is that it is supremely political. But the flip side is that it constitutes bad politics. Without going into the controversy and the fog surrounding Kashmiri Pandits’ sad departure from Kashmir, it stands to reason the Kashmiri Pandit community deserves a welcome back into Kashmir. But this welcome and rehabilitation has to be predicated upon a broader and deeper reconciliation between communities forming the firmament of Kashmir. Perhaps one prudent way to engender reconciliation would be to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that allows Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits to gain a handle and perspective on each others’ grievances, problems and the conflicts these have generated. This would be a first step. The follow up could be in the nature of an appreciation of deep structural issues that each community faces and then a review followed by rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits on terms that are mutually beneficial and acceptable. Any other method carries the seeds of conflict. Let sobriety rather than pride, prejudice and power inform any attempt to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir.

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One Response to "Let Truth and Reconciliation than Politics inform Pandits Return"

  1. G. Din   February 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

    There is a simple solution to Kashmir imbroglio : quadrifurcate the state. It is not just a Pandits problem. Dogras of Jammu, Buddhists of Ladakh are also in the same position – they just don’t want to be ruled by the Sunnis of Kashmir. All three have expressed their desires to be rid of their association with Kashmir. All three want to be a part of the Indian Union like any other state. This will also solve the problem of Art. 370. Since Kashmiri Sunnis alone want that article, they can have that. Others will get rid of it and join the mainstream of India with its attendant advantages and disadvantages.

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