‘Kashmiri Pandits seem not interested in returning home’

SRINAGAR, SEP 15: Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to emigrate in the 1980s, an official said that there were an estimated 25,000 unregistered Kashmiri Pandit families living in Delhi before 1989, but only 3,000 people came to collect application forms in a year after the announcement of the domicile certificate scheme only 806 families’ submitted applications.

According to an official estimate, the number of Kashmiri refugees and displaced families will be more than 50,000. The administration believes that most of them have settled permanently in one place or another and these families no longer want to return to Kashmir and even if they want to register their name under the domicile scheme, the only purpose is to get a ‘domicile’ certificate. To get

Talking to Indian Express about the lack of interest in domicile certificates, Relief, and Rehabilitation Commissioner Ashok Pandita said that the issue becomes even more complicated when it comes to including those who are under Pakistan’s control. Management is settled in Kashmir.

Pandita says that when one submits an online application, one has to write down the actual place of residence. Many people live in Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Rawlakot, and other districts. In this case, we do not accept the names of the native places of our computers. It is not just a software issue to be resolved on its own. He said the issue has been raised with the Home Ministry.

After the outbreak of militancy in Kashmir in the late 1980s, a large number of Kashmiri Pandits migrated from Kashmir and settled in other cities of India. The Jammu and Kashmir administration had announced a scheme on May 16 last year after abolishing the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. Under this, all persons who years ago or their ancestors had left the state and settled elsewhere can register themselves in the office of the Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation (Refugees) in Jammu and obtain a domicile certificate.

The purpose of this domicile certificate was to facilitate the emigrants from the state and especially the Kashmiri Pandits to regain their land as well as to help them get employment and education opportunities in the Centrally Administered Territories.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had expected the domicile certificate scheme to be warmly welcomed but the people showed little interest in the scheme. Despite lack of interest in the scheme, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has announced an extension of one year. The scheme will now be in force till May 15, 2022.

The Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation has also decided to set up special camps at places were at least 50 families from Kashmir reside to receive applications. (PTK)