Letter to the Editor – “Pandit, the legal pariah”

Sir,

This refers to ‘Pandits as pariah, legally’, (GK April 29). The crux of author’s narrative is that the extirpated community of Kashmiri Pandits has lost the domicile right in Kashmir Valley in the wake of new Domicile Bill. He wants to provide rationale for the consequences of ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Valley of Kashmiri Hindu minority community in 1990.

His logic is flawed. The reasons are

  • (a) all “migrant” Pandits including their family members; possess State Subject Certificate formally issued by state authority.
  • (b) All of them are formally registered with the Relief Commission of J&K Government
  • (c) The temporary ration card issued to the exiled Pandits by the State government authority carries the description in Urdu on the front page as this “Arzi Ration Card: subah Kashmir se Jammu aye hue logon ke liye”.

This document contains explicit detail such as the name of the head of the family, parentage, place of residence in Kashmir (locality, tehsil and district), government employee or not, family members, residence in Jammu – mohalla, zone, tehsil, etc. All of these details in respect of each “migrated” Pandit family remain computerized with even the minutest detail like state subject certificates, affidavits, election cards etc. The ration card is properly signed by the government authority with official seal and properly entered in official records with Ration Card number and Declaration Form number.

Notwithstanding this plethora of documentary evidence, if the author feels that the new domicile laws undo the rights of KPs, and he has been magnanimous to hark back the deprivation to them, undoubtedly the Pandits will demand the Union government to rectify the flaw if any, and ensure the domicile rights of the Pandits.

Apparently, the makers of new domicile law felt no need either to make a mention of Kashmir Valley Muslims or Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or any other religious denomination knowing they are state domiciles by birth.

Yes, the Kashmiri Pandits were happy when special articles of Indian Constitution were abrogated. People in Kashmir, irrespective of religion, having faith in democracy as the just political dispensation, are happy that they have been rescued from the clutches of communal, sectarian and parochial stranglehold. This is evident from the fact that the grave of the tallest among Kashmir Valley leaders needs to be protected against the ravages of vandals.

As regards history of the origin of state subject law, vibrant nations think of present and future and let the past remain in the backyard. The present of J&K speaks loudly that it is the ambivalent Kashmir leadership that dragged the state to the abyss of dismemberment of its previous status. As regards future, if the valley leadership fails to read the writing on the wall, they will be only precipitating separation of Jammu region and its rebirth as a new State of the Indian Union. That should not spring any surprise as it will be the logical conclusion of the intransigence of outmoded Kashmir leadership.

Finally, as regards the domicile issue of the KP Diaspora, they will be covered by the same rules and procedures as will be applicable to the Valley Muslim Diaspora spread out across the world.

K.N. Pandita
April 29, 2020

Tailpiece:
PDP-led coalition government granted state subject status to more than eighty thousand Rohingiya Muslims of Myanmar, and settled them in Jammu region. They were issued ration cards, PRs, Aadhaar cards, banking facility, ration cards and perhaps election cards also, all in flagrant violation of the then existing state subject law. Compare this with the treatment meted out by the State government to the West Pakistan and PoK refugees in Jammu for last seven decades. The coalition government settled the Muslim from Myanmar in Jammu but not in Kashmir region. The motive of doing so was clear; it wanted to impact the demographic complexion of Jammu. Who trampled Article 370 and 35-A under the foot, PDP of Amit Shah?

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