Binoo Joshi

Each set of statistics rolled out by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha on Wednesday to under the change in Jammu and Kashmir since abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 told a story that gelled with the reality .More than the comparative fact sheet of the acts of terror and its reduction before and after the August 2019 , Home Minister underscored the pain of Kashmiri Pandit migrants , for whom a bill proposing nomination of two seats in the legislative Assembly of J&K was passed in the House . His words and actions were a formidable step in nation’s acknowledgement of what all the migrant community has undergone for the past over three decades.
Kashmiri Pandits who suffered agony of migration , leaving their homes and hearths to seek safety outside the land of their ancestors , know what they have lost . Losing home at any point in time is painful, but if it is left in an atmosphere of hostility and violence , it is unimaginable . They were driven outside of the Valley, haunted by the fear that they may be target for standing for their religion, culture , ethos and love for India. This was an assault on the idea of India , in a manner that has neither been understood and analyzed so far with the minute attention it deserved until the arrival of the Narendra Modi government in 2014 . It is the manifestation of that understanding that the community is being politically empowered with the nomination of their community members to the legislative Assembly to give them a voice.
Even before the migration , the community was scattered in different parts of the Valley , but there was one seat of Habba Kadal in Srinagar which was considered a bastion of the Kashmiri Pandits , but after the troubles began that perception also faded . Habba Kadal constituency had a mix of Kashmiri Pandit and Muslim population , and this was also a symbol of the communal harmony – what is better known as an ethos of co-existence and sharing of culture under the phrase of “ Kashmiriyat.
An unending set of tragedies were inflicted on them at the time of their migration . One, they had to leave their homes in the most insulting times when they were asked to make a choice , join the campaign for Kashmir going Pakistan way , or leaving their women folk behind and quit Kashmir , . That was a tragedy in the land where they had inherited their homes of ancestors , and invested in advancement of education , health and cultural ethos. Second, after the migration , mostly to Jammu and other places , they realized that they were refugees in their own country , uncertain whether they would ever go back to the Vale . Chances of their return diminished with each and every passing year . That added to their frustration as they had to live with the shame of living in tented colonies with no privacy .. The passage of time also brought them face to face with the difficulty to survive . Their struggle to survive was at the cost of losing their dignity as human beings , and the worst part was that they were consigned to these miserable conditions because they had belief in India . Added to this was the way they were showcased before the international community as men, women victimized by Pakistan , and Pakistan sponsored terrorism . Their misery was sought to be compensated by free ration and some relief amount , but the real hand-holding was missing .

Home Minister said that “the era of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir started after the 1980s and the people who had lived there for generations were completely displaced from there but no one cared about them. He said that those who had the responsibility to stop all this used to holiday in England. If they had ended terrorism in the beginning without vote bank politics and by taking precise measures then there would have been no need to bring this bill today. Shri Shah added that the displaced people had to live as refugees in other parts of their own country and as per the current figures, 1,57,967 people from about 46,631 families were displaced in their own country . He said that the bill is a bill to give them rights and representation .”
Amit Shah said that by giving representation in the Kashmir Assembly and if a situation arises again , they will stop it . He said that 5,675 Kashmiri displaced families are taking advantage of the employment package today. He said that there was a project to build 6,000 flats for such employees, which could not be completed. After the imposition of President’s rule, about 880 flats have been built and the process of handing them over to the employees is underway.
This is the real handholding that Kashmiri Pandits were looking for decades.