Pandits who stayed back say co-existence possible

SHABIR AHMAD

ANANTNAG: Hari Krishan is one of those Pandits who chose to stay in the Valley when about 85 percent of the community’s members migrated en masse to Jammu and various parts of India. In a way, he is a living proof of the possibility of co-existence, which rightwing Pandit organizations say is no more possible when they root for exclusive Pandit townships.
“I am eager to see people of my community back to their homeland to live happily among their Muslim brethren as they used to before the migration. I don’t support the development of composite townships for their rehabilitation, which I think will isolate all of us from the society,” Hari told Kashmir Reader.
“During the past 24 years, my family never felt living in isolation. Our Muslims neighbors always came to our help whenever we were in crisis. On my marriage, my Muslim friends of the village who managed everything,” he said.
He suggests that the government should provide migrants financial help so that they can buy land in their native places.
Bunty Gula, a Pandit who runs a grocery shop in Rishi Bazar area of Anantnag township, describes the proposed move of the government as an attempt to divide Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits.
“See, all my salesmen are Muslims. I treat them like my younger brothers and they also treat me with respect. The composite townships will only sow the seeds of hatred,” he said.
He said that if the government is really serious about the dignified rehabilitation of migrant KPs, it should take the majority community and Hurriyat leaders on board.
“Government cannot impose its decision on the people and cage them in isolation. There should be some takers for the decision,” Bunty said.