By Zaffar Iqbal
Srinagar, Jan 18 (IANS) 45-year-old Sanjay Raina is finding it difficult to live in Kashmir. He and his wife benefitted from a government scheme meant to bring Kashmiri Pandits back to the valley against government employment, ten years ago. They live in a small apartment at Sheikpora in Central Kashmirs Budgam district while his parents live in Jammu.
Around 3,00000 Kashmiri Pandits migrated from Kashmir after an armed militancy erupted in the valley in early 90s.
The scheme for resettling Kashmiri Pandits was launched during Congress- led UPA government and seen as the most significant effort made for return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley.
3,000 Kashmiri Pandits were given government jobs for settling down in Kashmir with their families.
But there is no end to difficulties of Kashmiri Pandits who took the plunge of returning to Kashmir and living there despite security concerns. They have to go to Jammu to get things like a ration card and a voter card. But a bigger sense of loss is living in isolation in Kashmir away from their community.
“Our issues have remained unresolved, our families are disturbed, some of the family members are living in Jammu, while others are in Srinagar, this is the real migration,” Sanjay Raina said.
Most Kashmiri Pandits say they are feeling abandoned. They say their return has been reduced to mere electoral politics with political parties talking about their return in their election manifestos but doing nothing practically.
“Mere announcements are made without any implantation. Government lacks planning as far as rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits is concerned,” Raina said.
Raina said educated members from the community who took up jobs against returning to Kashmir are feeling disillusioned.
He said a package for Kashmiri Pandits was announced but never fully implemented.
“Government lacks planning,” he said. “We are living a miserable life; we want a proper rehabilitation when entire families can be moved to Kashmir.”
They are migrants in their own country without any clarity about their resettlement in Kashmir.
Perhaps it is this cynicism that is acting as the biggest stumbling block for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir. In the past proposals to bring back Kashmiri Pandits have been discussed and promises from the top leadership were made to the uprooted community, but the progress on the ground is minimal.