No separate homes

The guiding factor here is not insecurity, but opportunity for a better life

The Centre has done well to clarify that it has no plans at present to construct exclusive housing in the Valley for Kashmiri Pandits displaced from their homes in the early Nineties when Jammu and Kashmir was in the throes of insurgency.

It should go a step further and make it plain that helping the Pandits re-integrate into the areas they originally came from — if they would like that — is one thing, building special residential complexes for them quite another. The facts on the ground suggest that the proportion of Pandits willing to return to Kashmir is not a significant one. The guiding factor here is not insecurity, but opportunity for a better life. About 60,000 Pandit families had left Kashmir when insecurity for them appeared exceedingly high, and the state found itself unable to provide appropriate assurances. Much water has flowed down the river since.

The displaced Pandit families are likely to look for greener pastures elsewhere, rather than go back to the Valley which finds itself grappling with the unemployment question. Flats already built at government expense for Pandits in Budgam district near Srinagar have found few takers. The separatist camp in Kashmir has quite provocatively drawn the analogy of Israel in talking of the return of the Pandits. Unlike the present-day Israelis, the displaced Pandits are as much part of the Valley as their former Muslim neighbours. Conditions must be created so that all displaced Kashmiris can come and go from the Valley as they please.

( Source : editorial team )
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