Return and resettlement

Let me confess that after a very, very long time, I am feeling very proud of my Kashmiri roots and ancestry (“Full text: ‘Don’t allow self-styled leaders to oppose resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits’”).

The open letter by my fellow Kashmiri Muslim friends is very sincere and touching to say the least. It shows that despite several efforts by vested interests to create a divide between us on religious and political lines, we Kashmiris can still rise above petty politics and address each other’s concerns in the spirit of compassion, love and brotherhood.

This is a first step by the Kashmiri Muslim intelligensia and civil society to reach out to their Kashmiri Pandit community brothers.

I hope such efforts gain momentum and that my Kashmiri Muslim friends and many more civil society members come forward to convince and compel the obstructionists and the government to enable the Kashmiri Pandits to return to the land of their birth with grace and dignity.

I know that this effort has come a bit late, as over the last decade and a half, we have sadly abused, called names and poisoned our own and youngsters’ minds, and built walls of mistrust and hatred against each other. But, as they say, it’s better late than never. SK Kaul (Arazbegi)


Though belated, the open letter is indeed invigorating for anyone who loves Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. I don’t know how forceful this appeal can be, but it surely is a step in the right direction and therefore needs to be strengthened. Ashok Handoo


This statement and appeal is 24-carat gold. The analysis of events and acceptance of circumstances are candid. I don’t find any politics and ill will here, nor have words been minced.

My joint family and I initiated our return in August last year to our ancestral village of Mazhom. I am thankful to my village community for welcoming our return and to our brothers and sisters like the signatories of the statement. I trust my process of return and resettlement shall be completed smoothly in the near future.

I congratulate the signatories of the statement who have chosen to speak. Long live Kashmir’s Kashmiriyat. – Virender Bhat


Dear brothers and sisters from the Kashmiri Muslim community,

The statement issued by your group, wherein you have shown a deep understanding of the pain and pathos of internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits, and also recognised the horrible circumstances which led to our exodus from our beloved homeland, is really a very humane gesture.

By rejecting the parochial and communal mindset of extremist Hurriyat leaders, who tend to project themselves as representatives of the Kashmiri masses, your group has shown and proved that everything is not really lost in Kashmir and some good sense still prevails.

For a return to Kashmir and resettlement back there, you will agree we need not only place, but also our own space. Our places, that is our houses which we abandoned when we left, were either burnt down or destroyed or got dilapidated and collapsed over the last 26 years.

Most such houses were sold by us to our Muslim neighbours or other people in utter distress. More than 90% of the Kashmiri Pandits who left in 1990 and thereafter have no house to which they can return.

So it is a hollow claim and a melodrama on part of those Muslims who say we should come back and live in our own houses in various localities as we used to live before. If the Muslims of Kashmir are really sincere that Kashmiri Pandits should return and settle and live again in Kashmir, then a place and space has to be created for that, which can only be in new townships and smart cities to be created in Srinagar and the surrounding areas.

Hence, the responsibility falls on people of Kashmir like you to bust the myth created by these fake and false communal leaders, and create a favourable public opinion and situation which will generate trust, faith and confidence in our minds towards our Muslim majority brethren.

As you said, we need nobody’s permission to return to our homeland, and we will surely return on our terms and conditions. AK Hanjura


As many as two-thirds of the signatories are self-proclaimed atheists, yet they claim to be Kashmiri Muslims when it suits them.

Isn’t that sheer opportunism on the part of the signatories? They have a right to their opinion but why falsely claim to be Muslims which they are not? Adil Hamid Kaloo


I don’t think anyone can oppose the return of Kashmiri Pandits if they have managed to retain their homes. Muslim brethren in the Valley are glad to welcome them as part of our society. This has been expressed by the popularly accepted Hurriyat Party (It is not self-styled as mentioned in some quarters).

Any party which has mass following doesn’t need recognition from the government or any other camp. Resistance movements are run by parties like this.

However, it is necessary that the community gels with the greater society. The government should understand this. However, the underlying motive is not resettlement but rather satisfying ego. This is why I don’t think we will have calm in the future.

The affection shown by Muslims in the Valley is not reflected anywhere owing to the hatred brewing in the hearts of some Kashmiri Pandits, who must reciprocate the affection shown to them by Muslims recently.

Let us not sow hatred again in this society by settling the Kashmiri Pandits separately. Altaf Hussain


After many years, I have come across something rational and sensible from any Kashmiri group, be it Pandits or Muslims. I pray that this attitude is encouraged and allowed to grow roots in the civil society of Kashmir. Maharaj K Bhat