AIKS-2022 Declaration Accelerated KP’S Gharwapsi Hope and Expectations
The main cause of the forced displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir during the first half of 1990 was the insecurity of their lives and honor and the total breakdown of the governance structures and lawlessness that prevailed at that time. . The consequences of the displacement have been their significant absence from all conceivable areas of society and politics. Subsequently, living in a time of rapid change witnessed a rapid transformation of familiar social and political landscapes. Established and cherished ideals, with deep historical roots, overturned overnight. Unconventional and unusual notions and events appeared out of nowhere, proliferated and became dominant. Only in recent years have we seen the emergence of complex challenges that deserve attention. Everything we consider normal melts right in front of us.
The colossal crisis that the KP community is going through has systematically eroded its socio-psychological memory of Kashmir and increased the complexity of the situation. Placing oneself in the context of change in this way will require a great deal of dialogue, discussion and the exchange of ideas and points of view.
Considerable debate has been conducted by various Pandit organizations at different levels on the jurisprudence of return and the formulation of a return and restitution plan. The powers that be in this regard have pursued a totally disjointed, unrealistic and unsustainable option for the return of the displaced community. The time has therefore come to wrap up all hypothetical formulas for rehabilitation and focus on the pragmatic and most justifiable option of settlement based on non-refoulement, recognition of their specific identity and giving them politically viable means of subsistence. .
Realizing the dire need to respond to the challenges posed by the long displacement, AIKS released the vision document for the eventual return and rehabilitation of the displaced KP community in Kashmir on January 23, 2022. As they seek to find a place in an increasingly complex situation, it becomes important to reflect on their choices through the comprehensive and engaging analysis the paper aims to address. The basis of this article is laid on the assumption that it includes the objective of reconstructing its civilizational presence with visible footprints once again. The document attaches importance to the ideology of the secular-democratic philosophy of the Indian nation-state as the only arrangement that provides security of life, freedom of speech and equal opportunity for development materially as well only spiritually. AIKS is aware that there is no room for exclusivity in a country endowed with a mosaic of cultures and what is axiomatically called unity in diversity.
To have greater success with broader acceptability, the document as a supplement to the global settlement takes broad account of the expectations and aspirations of the beleaguered community. It could be a crucial factor in their reintegration into the local environment and could in the long run result in provocations to scare them away again. To respond to fundamental concerns, the document emphasizes the preservation of the ethno-religious identity of the Kashmiri Pandits and the imperative of giving them the political means to ensure a role in all organs of the ‘State. Numbers should not become a stumbling block in granting them legitimate representation. A legislative provision to this effect will institutionalize the reservation of minorities in legislative bodies.
While the document talks about the Kashmiri Pandits and their inextricable connection to Kashmir, it also refers to their faith in mutual tolerance, inclusiveness and nationalism forming a fundamental core of democratic politics in the state. A significant impediment to this imperative often comes at the expense and exclusion of exiled Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities.
To respect the rights of minorities and their legitimate space, he calls for granting them minority status. As aborigines of the land, the references are made to assert their rights to have a say in the decision-making process of the place.
In today’s Kashmir, civil society is keen to welcome back native compatriots to the valley who have spent their precious part of life over the past 32 years as refugees in their own country in this century of Modern lights. The political consensus at the national level and the JK UT call for GHARWAPSI natives of the exiled population returning to the country.
The following in brief are the areas of rehabilitation concern that the Kashmiri Pandit community in the Kashmir Valley deserve:
Restitution: From the perspective of AIKS, the guidelines established by the IDP working group should be accepted as the basis for their restitution in the Valley.
White paper: To reiterate its patent position on the rise of theofascism in Kashmir, the government should issue a white paper.
CBMs for Residual Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir should come to know about their daily survival issues and provide them with the help they need, which should encourage them to stay with dignity in the valley.
Physical Space: The only justifiable option for their return is satellite cities which should be self-sufficient in terms of overall infrastructure, economic avenues, land and decent housing.
Commission of Inquiry: There are strong grounds, legally and otherwise, to set up a Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court of India to investigate the heinous crimes committed against the KPs.
Temples and Shrines Bill: constitute their living symbols, therefore the passage of the said Bill is of utmost importance, if these priceless icons of Kashmir’s heritage are to be saved.
There is national consensus across the socio-political spectrum in the country and the JK Union Territory for the safe and dignified return, rehabilitation and political empowerment of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community.
AIKS Demands: The return, restitution and rehabilitation of approximately four hundred thousand indigenous Kashmiri Pandit aborigines physically back in 3 (three) modern/smart townships in Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag district headquarters. He urges the Honorable Prime Minister of India and the Minister of Home Affairs to act on this national humanitarian request and plan for a concrete and time-limited return of this community.
(The author is Chairman, All India Kashmiri Samaj Apex Organization of Kashmiri Pandits)