Press Release, 27 April 2013:
Ethnic cleansing from their homeland was forced on the Pandits under a meticulous plan. The entire Displaced Community is doubly determined to reclaim their land of origin. Their return and restitution in the valley has to be under a comprehensive and inclusive plan, not under any truncated formula.
PM’s package is flawed because it carefully circumvents the crucial political component of restitution process.
JKNM reiterates that notwithstanding impracticability of various modules of return and rehabilitation put forth by different quarters at different times, there is still scope of a consensual option to meet maximum interests of stakeholders in secular democratic dispensation provided intentions are sincere and political vision is not blurred by myopia.
After due deliberations over a period of time, JKNM conceptualized the module of twin-capital city of Srinagar. The new township, contiguous to old Srinagar, would be an inclusive and composite habitat for all Kashmiris in need of rehabilitation and restitution after displacement and dislocation during the period of turmoil.
JKNM recalls that after understanding the special circumstances, the basics of return, and after interacting with various groups, team interlocutors has grounded this entire discourse on four-point recommendations of the UN Working Group on IDPs viz. (a) non-refoulment (b) concentrated and comprehensive living (c) recognition of specific identity, and (d) political empowerment with viable means of sustenance. The team has concretised the jurisprudence of return and restitution in these words: “The State Government has been pursuing a totally disjointed, unrealistic and unviable option of return of the displaced persons. The State Home Minister told the parliament that no Kashmiri Pandit had returned despite the PM’s package. He did not elaborate the why of “no return”. That is what underscores our considered formula of return. The time has come when the Pandit have unanimously wrapped up all hypothetical formulae and focus on the pragmatic and reasonable option of a composite twin city for Srinagar for the entire community of internally displaced Persons and raise a comprehensive an inclusive habitat to be named Nav Srinagar. The envisaged twin-city/Satellite City will cater to many needs like solidifying harmonious Kashmiri Commune, prospect of running mutually beneficial enterprises among various communities and above all ;providing political space for the Pandits in a democratic dispensation”.
JKNM appreciates the pragmatic approach of team of interlocutors and expresses thanks to them for making this crucially important recommendation. Keeping in mind that the team interlocutors were commissioned by the Union Home Ministry, JKNM feels that the time has come for the State and the Union government to implement these recommendations in letter and in spirit.
The numerically very insignificant Pandit segment in the valley, that has braved many a hardship and lived a miserable life under the fear of gun, needs retrieval and re-integration into the main body of the restituted community.
While considering return and restitution of the indigenous displaced community in its historical habitat as the core of this discourse, JKNM at the same time restates continuation of parallel effort of pursuing co-related demands like preservation of community’s heritage symbols, updating of existing electoral rolls and simplifying franchise process, more easements for the inmates of migrant camps, and youth employment etc.
JKNM urges the State and the Union governments to break the stalemate on return of the Pandits, and thereby ensure restoration of secular-democratic ethos of the Indian nation in practical terms.
Jammu 27 April 2013.