‘Our 5000-year-old history under threat’: Kashmiri Pandits red-flag new land rules in J&K

Srinagar: Shock and anger have swept across displaced Kashmiri pandits after the Centre notified new rules allowing “non-permanent” residents to own land in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmiri pandits said their ‘5000-year-old history’ have come under threat due to the new land laws.

 “This is very objectionable. We, Kashmir Pandits, have a 5000-year-old history but you (government) have trampled it under your feet by inviting everyone here. Where will the inhabitants….people of the house go? The Centre’s first priority should be our return. I am the original inhabitant of Kashmir and instead of bringing me back, you are inviting people from all over,” Reconciliation, Return & Rehabilitations of Migrants chairman, Satish Mahaldar told The Kashmir Monitor.

The majority of the Pandits had migrated out of Kashmir after the eruption of militancy in the Valley more than 30 years back.

Mahaldar had led a delegation of Pandits to the Valley twice last year. He had announced that 419 migrants were willing to return to Kashmir. 

Before the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year, the Hurriyat and Pandits had also formed a joint committee that was supposed to talk to a cross-section of people in the Valley to decide on the ways and means for their return and rehabilitation.

Mahaldar regretted that the government was only playing politics over their return.

“There is no policy for us. They only do lip service and rake up the issue of Kashmiri Pandits whenever it suits them. However, nothing concrete has done for our return on the ground. The government should first ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland,” he said.

He said a group of displaced Pandits will submit a memorandum to the UN office in New Delhi. “A delegation from our community will go to the UN office in New Delhi and submit a memorandum,” said Mahaldar.

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