After the successful abrogation of Article 370 in the Kashmir Valley last year, one of the major promises made by the NDA government was the rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits who were massacred and forced to flee their homes by Islamist radicals in the early ’90s. On Tuesday, a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits met the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The delegation comprised of eminent Kashmiri Pandits like Surinder Kaul, International Coordinator of Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD); Utpal Kaul, GKPD India Coordinator; Anil Kachroo, GKPD USA; Taj Tikoo, President of the All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS); Dileep Mattoo, President Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM); and AJKVM members Sanjay Ganjoo and Parikshit Kaul, who all met Amit Shah at his residence for over an hour.
The delegates were seen lauding the government and handed over a memorandum to him to thank the Union government for the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution relating to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Pandits who are agitated to return to their ancestral homes appealed to the Home Minister to take cognizance of the issue of displaced Pandits on a priority basis so that an honourable and dignified return of the community to the Kashmir Valley can be ensured safely.
Amit Shah assured the delegation that the temples, shrines and all other community assets will be restored and made operational at the earliest. He informed the delegation that a massive drive is underway to generate employment and ensure heavy investment in various sectors of the new union territory’s economy. 10 Pandit townships are already in the works under ”Naya” Kashmir blueprint. The “naya” Kashmir blueprint incorporates renovation and rebuilding of holy Hindu temples destroyed and desecrated by terrorists in all the 10 districts.
It is important to mention here that ever since Kashmir became a victim of Jihadist terrorism almost three decades ago, the Islamist forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been attempting to remove all traces of the Hindu community from the valley. Hindu temples as such became the prime target of the radical elements leading to desecration of numerous such temples, many of them being spiritually significant centres of pilgrimage.
Earlier last year Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy had given a statement that disclosed the plans of the government to revive Kashmir from the damage inflicted by decades of extremist and Jihadist violence. The Home Minister’s statement is the follow-up and an update that the government is moving in the right direction earnestly.
The biggest sufferers in the valley has been the Hindu heritage and the tourism industry. When the Kashmir valley opens again, with the tourism industry running at its full potential and various other industries opening up, it will not be just a Kashmir coming out of curfew and torn apart. Kashmir will find its roots again, only this time more modern and an inclusive Kashmir with its Hindu heritage back. For the last three decades, there were no signs of a reversal or even abatement of the process of wiping out the Hindu legacy of Kashmir. The first glimmer of hope came with the abrogation of Article 370 thereby scrapping of the special status of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The Pandits are optimistic and believe that the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would bring the dawn of a new age for the Kashmiri Pandits who have already suffered more than enough.