Accusing the BJP of weaponizing the pain of Kashmiri Pandits to garner votes and further its ”divisive politics”, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said Kashmiri Muslims have to work harder on seeing the return of their Hindu brethren in a dignified manner.
She said some BJP-linked persons, who are sitting in the studios in Delhi and claim to represent the community, are spitting venom and are sabotaging any meeting point between the Pandits and Muslims of the valley.
”They (Kashmiri migrant Pandits) are out of their homes for such a long time and want to be back but the question is how to go about it. The way the BJP has adopted the issue is to further create a division between the two communities (Pandits and Muslims) rather than bring them together,” Mufti told PTI at her party’s headquarters here.
Five delegations including that of Kashmiri Pandits met the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and briefed her about their issues and concerns in the backdrop of the recent targeted killings in the valley.
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She said Kashmiri Muslims are the ”losers” in the migration of the Pandits but to see their return to the valley, ultimately rests on the people, especially the new generation, to reach out to each other and work for building an atmosphere of brotherhood prevalent before the eruption of militancy in 1990.
”Kashmiri Pandits need to speak in unison and reject the vested interests who are speaking venom to further the divide…Maybe we (the Muslims of Kashmir) have to work harder on seeing their return in a dignified manner,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president said.
Mufti said the targeted killings took place in the valley despite prior information with the government that the Pandits will be attacked.
”The killings triggered a sense of insecurity among the Pandit employees working in the valley forcing them to flee in panic. The height of things is that the government is very much confused which is evident from the fact that sometimes they ask the employees to report back to their duties and sometimes they ask them to stay back (in Jammu),” she said.
Mufti said PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed chalked out a program for their return with the then central government headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh that worked satisfactorily.
”We started building accommodations and transit camps, whether it was in Vessu, Sheikhpora, Mattan, or Ganderbal, for the Pandit youth employed under the PM Employment Package. Unfortunately, the process lost its pace under the current dispensation which failed to provide two bedrooms with a kitchen to such employees despite so many years,” she said.
Asking the Pandit community to isolate the vested interests toeing the BJP agenda, Mufti said some people from Delhi attempting to represent the entire community is spitting so much venom all the time that there does not seem to be a meeting ground.
”They are sabotaging any meeting between the two communities because it suits the BJP that has weaponized Kashmiri Pandits’ pain to garner votes and further their agenda of divisive politics,” she said.
Mufti said their venomous statements generate a reaction in Kashmir and there is also a backlash in Jammu as well. ”The problem is that the voices that are trying to represent Kashmiri Pandits are doing a great disservice to them by vitiating the whole atmosphere.” She said all such people are linked to BJP by not only the ideology but even otherwise as well. “Their interest is connected with BJP in many ways including political and financial. So, they are trying to run the narrative of the BJP.” PDP State Secretary R K Pardesi, who was part of the Pandit delegation, said, ”We have lost many generations but the dream to return to the valley remained unfulfilled.” ”Under the leadership of Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed), a hope rekindled for our return when the former chief minister set up accommodation at ‘Dharam Shallas’ at famous temples in Mattan and Ganderbal in 2002. The move also facilitated interactions between the two communities but his death snatched a true well-wisher of the community,” Pardesi said.
He said PDP under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti is the only party with a vision and roadmap to ensure the dignified return and rehabilitation of the Pandits in the valley.
”The BJP has done only lip service over the past seven years. I challenge them to single out even one concrete step which has been taken by the party for our return,” he said.
The alleged failure of the government led to the innocent civilian killings by militants in the valley, Pardesi added.