Kashmiri Pandit community betrayed, ban on sale of land until the Kashmiri Pandit refugees are rehabilitated, says a Kashmiri Pandit body

Srinagar: A Kashmiri Pandit body Thursday said they have been betrayed and demanded immediate ban on the sale of any kind of land in J&K.

Satish Mahaldar Chairman Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitations of Migrants in a statement to news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) says the Government of India notified land law for Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020, the law paves the way for any citizen of India to buy land in J&K.

“Kashmiri Pandits feel betrayed. For 31 years we have been waiting for return and rehabilitation in our land of origin. Without getting us rehabilitated in our land, the Government of India has thrown open the Kashmir land for sale. Is this justice?” he asked.

“Since 1989, the community has suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing in the valley. The successive governments in the Centre and State failed to protect its own people in the valley. The governments remained a mute spectator and what happened to the community can also be termed as democide. The forced exodus took a heavy toll on the community.

Kashmiri Pandits were killed, their properties looted, burnt, temples desecrated, many women kidnapped, gangraped and murdered. The forced exodus has cut us from our roots. This has affected our unique religious, cultural and traditional identity,” the statement reads.
“Today, we feel we feel this government has completely betrayed us. If the earlier ones did nothing to help us get our land back in Kashmir, this government has made sure that we remain in exile forever,” it reads.

“Some leaders are individually happy but for me and for the five lakh Kashmiri Pandits living in exile, it is a sad moment. Perhaps, a reminder of the bitter truth that being a Hindu in the Hindu majority land can be a curse.”

“Exodus has scattered the community and after this order the community will always remain scattered, lose its ethnicity and die a slow death.

A community which has a 5,000 year history in Kashmir is finally being slow poisoned by the powers that are there,” the statement says.

Mahaldar said, “Our constitution has ensured singularity in plurality, diversity in unity and safeguarding of minorities, but the successive governments have failed to protect the ethnicity of the minority in Kashmir.”

“This order of the Govt of India sounds like death knell for the KP community.

The blame for this should also go to the leaders of the community, who have failed to take up the cause of the community. Each of these leaders may have gained on their individual level, but on the community level they have failed. In fact, they are majorly responsible for the present state where in the Government of the day and the political diaspora gives a damn to the community because we are neither financially reckoning nor electorally decisive.”

He said this order has made it clear that the community is not of any importance to this government or the political class. “Three decades later, we continue to live away from our land, we continue to wait for a probe into our exodus, we continue to wait the justice. And as we await justice, this order has left us in shock.”

“It seems that J&K has been put up for sale. Rich and powerful will buy lands and take over the place whereas the original aborigines will continue to live in exile. We fear that land sharks will usurp our lands, including our temples, shrines and other KP institutions.”

We demand that there should be an immediate ban on the sale of any kind of land until the Kashmiri Pandit community is rehabilitated, he said.

“We demand that those 419 families be rehabilitated, who a year ago had given in writing to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs that they want to return. We request all parliamentarians kindly come forward and help to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandit refugees in Kashmir.” (KINS)