After a long time, perhaps, after the NDA Government won the general election for the
second time in succession in June 2019, our community representatives got a chance
to meet the second-most powerful man (arguably) in India, Sh. Amit Shah, our Home
Minister. As is wont with such meetings, there was a massive reaction, both positive
and negative to our meeting with the Greh Mantri. Therefore, this page provides an
opportunity to clear all the misgivings about this meeting.
The meeting was organized by Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM), particularly by
Sh. Parikshit Kaul ji. Besides, Parikshit ji and I, those who were part of the delegation
included, Sh. Sanjay Ganjoo, Sh. Dalip Mattoo, Sh. Utpal Kaul, Dr Surinder Kaul and
Sh. Anil Kachroo. As would be evident, JKVM had the largest representation. Dr
Surinder Kaul and Sh. Anil Kachroo represented the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora,
while I represented the AIKS. The meeting lasted for nearly an hour. Initially, it had been
decided that we would not present any memorandum. However, at the last moment it
was decided that it would be better to hand over a memorandum to ensure our
considered demands remain on record. Therefore, an old memorandum, which had
been presented earlier on behalf of GKPD by me to the erstwhile HM, Sh. Rajnath
Singh ji, was tweaked slightly and presented.
The HM gave enough time to all the members of the delegation to speak. All the
speakers including me stuck to what was written in the memorandum. Most of the
talking was done by members of the delegation. The HM did speak on some issues, but
mostly as loud thinking. He appeared well-informed about some issues which concern
us intimately; Our rehabilitation and resettlement in the Valley, encroachment of
Temples and Shrines and their reconstruction/extensive repairs, Economic revival of the
newly created Union Territory, radicalization of Kashmiri youth, Security of rehabilitated
Pandits, etc. etc.
I would like to put on record that to most people in our community, the meeting of the
HM with KP delegation came as a big surprise, in fact, out of the blue, and led to many
misgivings. Therefore, I would like to put on record my own assessment of such
The meeting had been arranged at a very short notice and the members of the
delegation had been selected by those who organized the meeting. Due to extremely
short notice at which the meeting took place and the even shorter notice that the
members themselves got for the meeting, the security issues involved, etc., not many
people knew about the meeting. What made matters even more intriguing was the way
the news about the meeting was made public.
This also needs a bit of an explanation. Only two pictures of our meeting with the HM were taken during the entire meeting. These were taken by the HM's staff. Later, he or his staff made these pictures public, along with the HM’s meeting with the KP delegation. Thereafter, it was a lead news on all channels and grabbed headlines for the next few hours. Some of those who were part of the delegation also appeared on TV News channels. This too added to the confusion. Since our own community learnt about this meeting through the media and not through their own representatives, gave rise to these misgivings.
It would also be in the fitness of things to report that the delegation obviously did not
represent the whole community- to describe it as fractious would be an understatement-
but represented their own respective organizations. In fact, many well-known organizations went to town to denounce the meeting and once again reiterated their
own set of demands.
I would like to add that during the last thirty years of our exile, some big the community
organizations have either got divided further or other organizations have sprung up.
This has led to a classic case of divided opinion on crucial issues. Coupled with this is
our dwindling population, inter-community marriages, lack of emotional connect of our
youth with our ancestral land, Kashmir, etc. These issues have further handicapped our
return issues. I think there is an urgent need to introspect in order to formulate an
– Col. Tej K Tikoo