Srinagar: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday that education in the valley has suffered immensely because of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.
Stating that quality education in Kashmir remained a “far-fetched dream” after the Pandits left the valley, Mufti said migrant Pandits invested their skills and expertise in Jammu that naturally progressed.
“For centuries Pandits have been a learned people. They have imparted their teachings to Muslims in Kashmir. But Kashmir got deprived of great teachers when Pandits left the valley,” she told a gathering at the launch of High Density Apple Plantation scheme at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).
“It is due to this reason we are witnessing Jammu excelling, flourishing and getting quality education. But in Kashmir, bringing quality education back on the heels is a difficult task,” she added.
The chief minister said she was taught by Pandit teachers like many Kashmiris of her generation.
“The contribution of Pandits towards education sector has been really commendable. They have produced known doctors, academicians, lawyers and other professionals and leaders who have proved themselves,” she added.
Hailing Jammu once again for “embracing inclusiveness Kashmir was known for”, she said, “I have observed Jammu has become inclusive now. Caretakers of a mandir stop bhajans when azaan is said. Jammu has also become more secure for Kashmir women.”
“I see Kashmir girls studying in Jammu. I see many Kashmir girls, wearing Niqaab, in Raghunath Bazaar. It makes me happy how they freely stroll on the roads and markets,” Mehbooba said.
“It now depends on Kashmiris what they want to be? What they choose to become? The peace and prosperity is linked to peace. Mahatma has seen the ray of hope in Kashmir. We have to understand the essence of peace for progress,” she added.
Referring to the closure of cinemas in Kashmir, Mehbooba said that those people who want cinemas shut in Kashmir “stealthily enter cinemas in Jammu and watch films”.