Friday, April 28, 2017
 
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House Resolution On Pandits ---A show of intent





By B L Saraf



Both the Houses of State Legislature have, unanimously, passed a Resolution, conveying a sense that the law makers are earnest and sincere to see the return of displaced Pandits to the Valley and an effort will be made to ensure so. Then came news “the Centre has conveyed approval for construction of Government transit accommodation in Kashmir Valley for allotment to the Kashmiri migrants to whom Government jobs have been provided or will be provided.” This has been stated in written reply to the Legislative Assembly by the Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation in response to the question of a BJP M L A. Further, it was stated by the Minister that concerned Deputy Commissioners of the Kashmir have identified 723 Kanals of land for construction of transit accommodation for Kashmiri migrants in the Valley.



Expectedly, the Resolution has evoked mixed feelings in the displaced community. Some have, not without a reason, described it as yet another “Pious declaration” meant only for recitation and not for the implementation. These “declarations “, they say, have been coming forth off and on, to keep the exiles in a good humor. They certainly have a point. But there are some, within the community, who see a way forward in the Resolution.
Perhaps, it is first ever resolution of the kind. That itself may not be a big deal but, then, it indicates an intention and recognizes certain hard realities of the Pandit’s displacement. It doesn’t matter who moved the Resolution so long a political unanimity marks its passage. Undoubtedly, it is inadequate in substance but, for a change, let us examine this development in the spirit it has come to the fore. Sometimes, it is better not to develop a 3rd eye to try to see what is not visible to the two. A hairsplitting analysis can wait; better allow a lay man’s earthly sense to help us.




This Resolution has a meaning for the displaced community, as, indeed, it has a message for the majority community in the Valley. That time has come when both must come together. It could well be taken as a step forward to promote reconciliation between the two integral components of the Kashmir society which, unfortunately at the moment, is riven apart. It is a fundamental premise that reconciliation is never built on conditions. A manifest declaration of the accommodative spirit is a sine -quo-non. Putting forth conditions ahead will mar every attempt no matter how well intentioned it is.
True, the tragedy that befell the Pandits has been a natural consequence of a well- thought out conspiracy. It is desirable to reveal it. But to priories it and insist on its redressal, first, will mean foreclosure of the return option. We must not forget that separatists and their sympathizers in the mainstream are ready with their set of conditions. They want, if not prior to but simultaneous, return of those who, on their own, have crossed borders in 1947, 1965, 1971 and in 1990. Competing in conditionality will server no body’s purpose. To test the Government’s resolve it is advisable to play out the game.
It does not pay to be a rage boy, always. By out rightly rejecting the move we may, only, allow an escape route for the Government to wriggle out of the commitment. It is better to pause a while, grant some fairness to the intentions of the legislators and then pronounce a judgment.




Understandably, it not easy to sort out the problem of exile’s return. With the passage of time it has become so complex that it will take a herculean effort to sort it out. So many people have thrown in the stakes, many contradictions have crept in. Assembly Resolution is just an expression of interest that has become a cause of irritation for the separatists. As usual, misplaced reference to the Mossad and Israeli settlement are brought in from nowhere, just to oppose return of the ‘native’. It is really too much to expect of the Hurriyat to show same concern for the rehabilitation of the original residents in Valley which they, very illogically, show for the rank outsides like Rohingyas of Myanmar and the Bangladeshis, settled in Jammu.




It is common sense, Pandits will not return on mere ‘ pious intentions’ of the State. For that the quarters concerned will have to come good on their assurance, substantially, and provide for exile’s livelihood, psychological and physical security, in Kashmir. State Government as also the one at Centre must instill confidence in them before the displaced persons embark on a return journey.



As a token of its sincerity let the Government bring in legislation for the protection of Temples and Shrines of Hindus in Kashmir. It is long pending demand of the community – fair and innocuous one. After all it is the extended reply of Minister concerned that brings out nub of the matter. The Rehabilitation Minister went on to say” Though a total of 185 Temples and Religious places of Kashmiri Pandits are in dilapidated condition in different parts of Kashmir Valley, yet the Government has not initiated any major step for their protection. Moreover, no decision has been so far taken on the demand from community about passage of Temples and Shrines Bill by the state Legislature.” Actual number of damaged temples far exceeds the official account. It must be noted that the number of the temples given by the Minister has been tabulated by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on an order of the Hon’ble High Court, made, on a petition, to safe guard them from further devastation.



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The community leaders must display statesmanship. Community interests, no doubt, should be held dear but at times they are subservient to the broader national imperatives.
The Resolution provides a ground where from the Return Plane can take off, for a flight to the home. Pray! It doesn’t run into a rough weather.






(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )





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