Wednesday February 20, 2019
Home Opinion A home away f...

A home away from home; Kashmiri Pandits and the question of Homeland

0
//

images (12)

 

By Ishan Kukreti

In the game of Indian politics, the issue of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) is like a football being kicked around. BJP bet its money on the Pandits to win elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The call for ‘Homeland’ is raised every now and then to induce a pan national sympathy wave in the country. Those who have ‘migrated’ live a life filled with bitter-sweet memories, cradling a faint hope of someday walking the streets again that they used to roam as kids.

 

The curtain rises

Kashmir, a region that had so boldly refused Jinnah and his two nation theory, had a school of Islam, Sufism, followed by the radicalization of both Hindus and Muslims post USSR break up. However, the real reason, which turned Kashmir into a field of open graves, remains buried in that time and place.

The events that followed the elections of 1987 and the entry of Pakistani and Afghan militants into the scene in its aftermath are not new stories to tell. It all ended with the exodus of a community from their land, their home.

‘The Kashmiri Pandit had to leave when his neighbor told him that he could not protect him anymore.’ Rahul Jalali, a journalist and a KP himself told NewsGram. Rahul was reporting Kashmir in ’91 but had to escape after an attempt on his life. Two years later his house was bombed. Nothing remains of his childhood there, all the memories are just in his head and they only get as tangible as dreams.

Many who left, like him managed to survive by the skin of their teeth. Many, like Lassa Kaul, the director of Doordarshan in Srinagar, were not so lucky.

 

A bag full of stones

Meanwhile the game continues. The talks of creating ‘composite townships’ have been shot down by CM Mufti on the grounds of diversity. Separatist leader Yasin Malik has appealed to KPs to come back. In the match between Rajnath Singh, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Yasin Malik and the like, the Kashmiri Pandit is standing on the sideline, burdened with promises.

‘ Our houses were taken. There were brokers who sold them at nominal rates. Why didn’t Yasin Malik tell them then to not sell our houses, tell them that we have to come back? Can they give me my home back? Can I go back and say that this is my land, please give it back to me? I think that is not possible.’ a highly agitated Bihari Kak, once the owner of famous Kak Opticals in Srinagar said over the phone.

He says he wants to go back to his motherland. But even if he is given his land back, he can’t just go there and live. Employment opportunity and a means to earn a living are things conspicuous by their absence in Kashmir and Kak Opticals do not exist anymore.

 

A fire and some lost bangles

Moreover, fear of a resurgence of militancy can’t be denied. Having lived in terror, those who have somehow managed to start a new life in other places don’t want their children to live the same way.

‘ There is no fear. But at the same time there is a doubt, what if it happens again? You see the stone pelting is happening again. That’s how it was then, throw a stone and kill them. If there was a match, somebody was killed. Match lost, kill them, match won, kill them. That was the attitude. We dont want our children to live in this kind of atmosphere.’ Kak’s loss is overwhelming. The day their house was burnt, his 11 year old daughter cried the whole night for the bangles she had lost in the fire.

 

So, where do we go from here?

‘The only way to solve the issue of Kashmiri Pandits is a reconciliation along the lines of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Without taking into account the basic human relations, no amount of governmental, political or any other kind of resolution can solve this problem.’ says Rahul Jalali.

A purge of all the negative emotions from the people is required to mend the damage. Till the time aggressor and the aggrieved don’t agree mutually to put this behind them and move on, not much can be achieved on the rehabilitation and ‘Homeland’ front.

 

Postscript

Rahul recounts an incident on a Jammu matador bus that gives the ground reality in the state.

‘ A Kashmiri Muslim family and Pandit were sitting together on the seat behind me. Given the size of these mini buses I could overhear them talking. And what they were talking about wasn’t the things said on Prime Time. They were recounting tales of personal loss. The Pandit had to leave his house and stay in camps and the Muslim had lost his father to the bullets of security forces. The two communities divided in history had found reconciliation in a little bus of Jammu.’

The story of Kashmir is one where people on both sides have lost and are no better than the other, one is destroyed by leaving Kashmir and the other by staying.

 

Next Story

Cyber Crimes Pose a Challenge to Traditional Policing, Says Home Minister Rajnath Singh

The Home Minister also inaugurated a Delhi Police residential block comprising 56 flats. The Delhi Police built 312 dwelling units last year and another 969 units are under construction

0

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that cyber crimes pose a challenge to traditional policing and called upon police personnel to enhance their skills to tackle threats posed from the cyber world.

“If we have to build public trust in a digital world, then we will have to bear zero tolerance towards cyber crime,” he said after inaugurating the Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Centre (CyPAD) of Delhi Police and the National Cyber Forensic Lab of the Home Ministry.

Home Minister said in this era of internet and computers, there exists an aspect of cyber crime whether it is cyber cheating or fraud, women harassment or terror recruitment which needs to be strongly addressed.

“Internet is a platform not only aiding the evolution of social media but also crucial to online banking, shopping and remotely operated systems in industry. We have to develop institutional mechanisms for undertaking timely assessment to challenges in cyber space and securing it for the common man,” he said.

He said the ministry has initiated several steps in the last more than four years to deal with cyber crimes including setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Phone Frauds.

“For effectively tackling challenges to cyber space, we need an institutional mechanism at the national level involving the private sector also and coordination at the national and international levels,” he said.

File Photo.

The Home Ministry has set up an Expert Group for a detailed study and initiated creation of the Cyber Crime Coordination Centre which will deal with cyber forensics, cyber investigation, cyber research and innovation, threat analytics and cyber training.

Rajnath Singh said the setting up of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (i-4C) is a step towards its implementation.

He said the CyPAD will deal with crypto-currency frauds and international tech-supported frauds.

Also Read- After 750 mn, Hacker Puts 93 mn More Users’ Data on Sale

All these steps are aimed at achieving the “minimum government, maximum governance” goal set under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.

The Home Minister also inaugurated a Delhi Police residential block comprising 56 flats. The Delhi Police built 312 dwelling units last year and another 969 units are under construction. (IANS)