Mirwaiz said the initiative is being driven by a committee which comprises of members from the separatist Hurriyat, the Kashmiri civil society and the migrant Pandits themselves, and those that are still leaving in Kashmir. He explained that the return of Kashmiri Pandits is a ‘humanitarian problem’. “The concept is to involve all and we have decided to work with Kashmiri Pandits and the civil society to build trust. Intercommunity interaction is very important,” Mirwaiz said. However, the state officials of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have declined to comment on this initiative.
In 1990, India witnessed the exodus of about 100,000 Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir to Jammu and other states following an uprising against the Indian rule in 1989. Today, only a mere 2,000 or so Kashmiri Pandit families remain in the troubled valley. Despite various media reports of communal tension in Kashmir between the valley’s Muslims and Hindus, there was no mass killings. Reports highlighting figures of 3,000 to 4,000 killings of the Pandit community was just a propaganda. It didn’t happen. Since the 1990s, tensions between the Kashmiri, the armed forces and the militants have been running high.
According to the Hindustan Times, the decision to form a committee to coordinate the return of Kashmiri Pandits came about when a delegation of migrant Pandits led by Satish Mahaldar called on the HC’s office in Rajbagh, Srinagar on Thursday. Mirwaiz said the committee would include ulemas, traders and civil society members.
“Mirwaiz is the leader of Kashmir and we are the body and soul of Kashmir. Together, we will fight for peace and the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits,” said Mahaldar. He added that Mirwaiz regretted whatever happened in the 1990s and wants the Kashmiri Pandits to return.
The central government should also take advantage of this peace talks and step forward to resolve the Kashmir situation once and for all.