Kashmiri Pandit Enclave

By K.N. Pandit

International law and Human Rights Charter emphatically recommend creation of safe enclaves for IDPs in their places of origin.

Reflections on Kashmir situation could not escape the notice of BP leadership during its recently concluded Bangalore conclave. The President is reported to have made “sensational” demands namely “enclave” in the valley for the extirpated Pandits, and “nationalization” of Pir Panchal – Baltal road.

Not only  to Congress, but to the Leftists and their cohorts too, and in particular to overt pro-Muslim lobbies in other parties like SP and RJD too, Rajnath Singh’s  Kashmir-related demands are  a red rag to the bull.

The twin demands are not the brainchild of BJP. Its President has only formally reiterated what the Kashmir IDPs have been demanding for two decades. Hopefully now BJP higher echelons will begin to appreciate its potential in resolving the Kashmir tangle.

In its 3,000 – strong Marg Darshan conclave of December 1990 at Jammu, Panun Kashmir adopted the famous “Homeland Resolution”. It succinctly traced the causes and the course of Pandit expulsion, and demanded a Homeland in the valley with a nationalized link road from Pir Panchal to the eastern borders touching on Tibet.  Subsequently, Panun Kashmir issued a conceptual plan of the Homeland together with a physical map delineating the proposed enclave in the valley. The plan was widely publicized.

But this demand met with fierce opposition from mainstream political parties in the country with Congress and the Left in the forefront.

NC leader Farooq Abdullah, speaking in a rally in R.S. Pora in Jammu in 1996, said that the Pandit Homeland would become a reality only on his dead body. This fiction is reminiscent of the ‘Father of the Nation’s’ guffaws before the partition of the country.

As Home Minister, Mr.  L.K. Advani is on record saying in the Parliament that BJP would not concede “Homeland” to displaced Kashmiri Pandits. Even RSS murmured the demand was against Akhand  Bharat philosophy.

Vicious opposition to Homeland came from two quarters. First was the pre-partition Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora in Delhi (Pamposhites). Second was a section of national print media whose pro-Muslim and pro-Pakistan proclivities beggar no description.

The Diaspora’s fulmination stemmed from the largesse it had craftily culled from the long Congress rule. It manipulated diversion of Congress leadership from any serious and no nonsense debate on Kashmir: it fed the top leadership — from Nehru down to Sonia Gandhi — with sycophancy, canards and hyperbole.  It feared erosion of its monopoly of Kashmir chapter in Congress political structure. Its opposition was veiled and subtle; adepts as they are like any other Congress sycophant in the art of double speak.

The biased press did the greatest harm. It distorted facts and mutilated realities.  It profiled Pandits as communalists, anti-nationalists, Hindu fanatics and, therefore, the pariah. Leading national dailies did not publish a single editorial that would have analyzed Kashmir situation objectively and affirmed  Pandit exodus as failure of India’s secularism.

On his visit to Srinagar in 1990, George Fernandez, then a minister said that insurgency happened because the Pandits had grabbed all state jobs. We asked now that the Pandits have been expelled, why has not militancy died down?  During past nineteen years of insurgency, the J&K government has provided more than five hundred thousand government jobs to the Kashmiri   youth in the valley. It is 50 times more than the jobs Pandits filled at the time of their expulsion. Why has not insurgency ceased?

The exiled Pandits did not adopt Homeland resolution out of anger or desperation.  Community intellectuals burnt midnight oil to debate the proposition.  Its dimensions, political, social, economic, logistical, and operational were weighed and discussed, essentially keeping national interests in sight. Pandits knew that Kashmir issue was going to be an albatross in India’s neck. They worked on a balancing option, which no country and no law in the world could challenge. International law and Human Rights Charter emphatically state creating of safe enclaves and habitats for IDPs in their places of origin.  Even today when Pandit Homeland issue is casually mentioned in the circles of separatists and Theo-fascists in Kashmir, it sends a chill down their spine.

Now that the BJP President has re-opened the subject, he would be well advised to ask for a meeting with the founding fathers of Marg Darshan resolution to understand the logic of this demand and its impact on national and Kashmir politics.
(The writer is the former Director of the Central Asian Studies Centre, Kashmir University).

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