Kashmiri Pandits await plan for return & rehabilitation: GKPD chief

The Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), a Kashmiri Pandit civil society movement, has said that there has been no comprehensive plan for the return and rehabilitation of the community from the Narendra Modi-led government.

Speaking to IANS after an event here on Vivek Agnihotri’s Anupam Kher-starrer ‘The Kashmir Files’, the GKPD co-founder, Dr Surinder Kaul on Monday said, “We are waiting for a comprehensive plan for the return and rehabilitation of the community in exile to our homeland, Kashmir. We are hopeful that our community will get justice.”

Upset that justice has eluded the Kashmiri Pandits for the past 32 years, Kaul said that it is the duty of the government to bring justice and to help the displaced community to return to the valley. He said no government in power has thought about setting up a tribunal or a judicial commission to probe the exodus of the minority communities in Kashmir.

“Hundreds were killed, many raped, houses were set on fire, temples were desecrated and lot more atrocities were inflicted upon the community since 1989 in Kashmir. Genocide was committed against the community, but no government has recognised this,” Kaul said.

He said the State of Rhode Island in the US has officially recognized the genocide of Hindus in Kashmir and showed a certificate issued by the state government to this effect.

“After watching ‘The Kashmir Files’ they officially said that the genocide of Hindus in Kashmir had occurred,” Kaul said, noting that nothing of this sort had happened here. “Till the movie was not out, how many talked that there was really a massacre of Kashmiri Pandits. Those who knew have been trying to keep it hidden. Why? Now, everybody is talking,” Kaul said.

He added: “At least this government abrogated Article 370, they have opened Kashmir, but for us returning to our homes still remains a dream and this government has not made any plan so far.”

The GKPD is now supporting a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament moved by the Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha. “He is bringing the Bill on our request. The government has to think and consider,” Kaul said.

When asked whether the GKPD is taking the help of the Congress to put pressure upon the Centre, he said: “Vivek Tankha is a Kashmiri, he is doing it on his own as a community member and it is not the Congress party.”

The GKPD, Kaul said, has been working hard to check the disinformation spread by vested interests against the exodus and the Kashmiri Pandit community in general.

In conclusion, he reiterated that the Modi-led government needs to take proactive steps to enable the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.

(Deepika Bhan can be contacted at deepika.b@ians.in)

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