Saturday, September 26, 2020
 
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Non- Migrant KPs up in agitation-Time to join hands




B L Saraf



Kashmiri Pandits who on the onset of armed militancy ,in 1990, did not move out of the Valley -- whom government describes as Non –Migrants ( NM for short ) - have reiterated certain demands which, according to them , have not been addressed by the government , so far . Few days back they lodged a protest and demonstrated in the premises of Press Enclave Srinagar ,under the banner of Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti ( KPSS ) . The Samiti President told the media and those present on the spot that they have resubmitted their grievances to the state authorities on 12th August 2020 and are waiting for a positive response . And if it doesn’t come within the stipulated time , he informed the gathering “ the KPSS will be forced to go for a fast –unto-death .”


Put briefly , their demands are ; extension of PM’s Job package and apportionment of 500 posts / one job per family for 808 Non –Migrant KPs / Kashmiri Hindu families - which has been already approved by the MHA ; cash assistance ; safe accommodation ; Protection , preservation and restoration of temples and other religious places belonging to the Hindus in Kashmir .Their other grievance is that after 5th August 2019 developments they have been suffering on account of the political vacuum that has engulfed the Valley .


The NM are not protesting for too much . In fact they are asking for the bare minimum that is required to keep one physically and emotionally afloat . Furthermore , these demands are in no way different from what the Pandits who moved out ( officials called Migrants ) have been regularly projecting . However , as is the case with NM , there has been no response from the government to their charter of demands . This has been the tragedy of the community that nobody is bothered about its plight . Story remains same for the community where from both NM and Migrants come . They may be living apart for the moment but both suffer a pervading sense of “ orphan hood” which has relegated them to the situation which hopefully may , one day , compel them to converge at the same place and agitate together for some relief . It is a statement of fact that KP is a forgotten lot only to be recalled from the consigned record when, in Delhi or elsewhere , it becomes necessary for the ruling party to confront the adversary and score a political point . It matters least whether the point scored is relevant to the community’s cause or not . Shrill debate over , they stand reverted back to the cold store .
Edward Said tells us “ Exile is the un healable rift forced between a human being and a native place , between the self and its true home .” For the Pandits it is double whammy - separation not only from ‘ true home ‘ but also a segregation from the Kashmir society , at large . What aggravates the tragedy is the fact that Pandits are made to suffer a theory of intra- community rift ,also . A cunning politician discusses them in the abhorrent terminologies like NM and Migrants , just to drive a wedge in -between . The worst part of the exile tale is that , among other things like loss of heritage , neighborhood , congenial habitat , a theory of nomenclature is encouraged to emerge . Now , KP is either a Migrant or a Non –Migrant : beyond these unpleasant prefixes there is nothing to define him.



The year 1990 gave birth to story of trials , tribulations , deprivation , trauma and loss of opportunities . It generated a kind of social barrier between Migrant Pandits and the Non –Migrants – a process of social stigmatization went under way . Encouraged by the inimical elements , one sees other with a degree of uncalled for suspicion .The unwelcome fall out of the exodus has been the creation of complexes in the community , like that of adventurism and helplessness . This strange phenomenon of looking at each other rather than to each other has set in and continues still . As things portend , it is likely remain so even after the unpleasant phase of unintended migration comes to an end .



It is time to reiterate that NMs and Migrants are of the same stock and will remain so . Momentary separation doesn’t matter . No artificial barrier will hide the truth . Some may have moved out in the circumstances which we must appreciate in a proper perspective . Similarly ,we have to appreciate the grit and tenacity of our brethren who stuck to the roots despite heavy odds , and give them credit for keeping community’s flag high in Kashmir , at the time when game seemed to be over for the nationalist forces . It is a travesty that vested interests are portraying them as the adversaries . It is better to realize that what comes to either of them, in the ultimate analysis , it helps community survive , as a whole .
There is a convergence of sorts in projecting the demands . For instance , see what NMs are demanding ! One of the demands is to ensure protection , preservation and proper management of temples and shrines of the Hindus , in Kashmir , which have been plundered by the unscrupulous . Over the period of time , the displaced community has been agitating for the same.


This is a time to display a united spirit and join hands to lend support the NMs in seeking redressal of their grievances . After all they are the grievances of whole Pandit community . The governments in J & K and New Delhi will do better to understand this


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



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