In this election year various political formations shall again visit Kashmiri Pandits for getting their support for voting them to power. What has been observed since many years is that, political parties use ethnic cleansing as an election issue to garner the votes from people, and after winning the elections, forget about the refoulment of hapless community who are the victims of Jihad.
The recent visit of PM Modi to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh had been keenly observed by the displaced community with a hope that PM shall offer a tangible deliverable for the displaced community. The PM, while addressing the gathering at Jammu,did bringup the issue of Kashmiri Pandits and sympathized with the religious cleansing of the community. PM said “I understand their pain. We never forgot the situation they faced at the time of exodus.” He further said, “My Government is committed to restore dignity and pride of displaced Kashmiri Pandits,”
However, PM’s speech fell short of any tangibles for the community. The speech didaddress the regional developmental plans for Jammu and the work done by Central Government for the State, but he avoided mentioning anything which his government has done for the community. The reason being that in last about five years of NDA govt., the KP community has only received verbal assurances from his govt. The historic mandate given to PM was to correct the wrongs done to nation by previous regimes. However, that opportunity was lost when BJP aligned with soft separatist political party headed by Mufti’s to form the Government in the State. The four years of coalition govt. in state never addressed the issue of Jihadi terrorism or the ethnic cleansing of minority Kashmiri Pandit community. Hence, a valuable opportunity was lost.
Kashmiri Pandits had expected that under the stewardship of PM Modi, fair resolution and a road map would be shared. PM should have, at least by now, constituted impartial enquiry commission to bring the persecutors of ethnic cleansing before the law of the land on the same lines as has been done in the case of 1984 Sikh riots. But again, nothing was done in this direction. One can infer that the pain of ethnic cleansing is only an election stunt and nothing more. The inauguration of transit accommodation for KP community does not address the issue of genocide; such stop-gap arrangements have failed in the past. The community eagerly awaits the PM walking the talk and correct the wrongs done to the community.
Heinous Killings by Jihadis
Terrorism hit a new low in Kashmir when 25-year-old young women Ishrat was murdered in cold blood in Kashmir. The barbaric and bone-chilling video of this heinous murder is in wide circulation on social media. Anyone, who has seen the video can make out that the woman is pleading for mercy from the killers. But the Jihadis shoot her on point blank range. This gruesome killing of unarmed young women only reflects how much the Kashmiri psyche has compromised their age-old traditions at the altar of Jihad.
Terrorists have justified this murder by claiming that the hapless woman was a police informer. This is the usual alibi, often given by the Jihadis after they execute innocent civilians. What is intriguing is that the lives of common innocent people do not matter any more in Kashmir. What matters in Kashmir now a days is only Jihad. The silence of separatists and that of civil society on this murder is on expected lines as their conscience is completely dead. The Kashmirisociety eulogizes the death cult and innocent lives no more matter to them. This does not bode well for Kashmir. Any society which does not rise against the terrorists shall eventually submit to their dictates and shall render the society bereft of human values.
International Mother Tongue Day
21st February is the International Mother Tongue Day which is being celebrated across the world to promote the native languages. Therefore, it is very important for Kashmiri Pandit diaspora to reflect and take a clue from this day to promote their own language in their homes.
The onus of keeping alive our cultural moorings lies entirely on us. Ever since our forced displacement from Kashmir, our progeny, born outside the valley, are ignorant of the richness of this language. Various attempts are being made by learned scholars, poets, linguists, writers, etc., among the community to keep this language alive. However, the overall trend is not encouraging. It is important for all of us to keep Kashmiri language alive, at least, as a spoken language at home, so that we can connect with our roots. When Sindhis, Bengalis, Tamils or any other people can speak in their mother tongue with ease, then what stops us from communicating in our own language?Let us take a vow that we shall speak and encourage our progeny to speak in Kashmiri as it is not only a cultural requirement but also a political necessity.
Sunil Raina Rajanaka