By Sheikh Qayoom
Migrant Kashmiri Pandits on Sunday demanded rehabilitation and return to their homeland before domicile certificates are issued to others in Jammu and Kashmir.
An organization of migrant Kashmiri Pandits, called Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of migrants, headed by Satish Mahaldar, said in a statement on Sunday, “We demand stopping of the issuance of domicile certificates until Kashmiri Pandits are rehabilitated in the valley.
“It seems that the government of India is busy in pleasing non-residents and other refugees at the cost of Kashmiri Pandits. The present government had said that the migrant and displaced Kashmiri Pandits will be rehabilitated in ten districts of the valley. But so far there has been no movement in this regard.
“We demand that the government of India must immediately come out with the Kashmiri Pandit Rehabilitation Policy. This should be announced before the issuance of domicile certificates to any person. The process of issuing of domicile certificates should be stopped immediately”.
The organization said giving domicile certificates to outsiders before rehabilitating migrant Pandits is in violation of democratic, constitutional and humanitarian rights.
“Our fundamental Rights and constitutional rights have been denied since the last 31 years. And issuing domicile certificates before settling us back is a violation of all the basic constitutional and human rights.
“Human rights violations are a major factor in causing the flight of refugees as well as an obstacle to their safety and voluntary return home. Safeguarding human rights in countries of origin is therefore critical both for the prevention and for the solution of problems.
“The plight of our community is the fodder for many political parties in the country. Our condition is among the main tools that help India to counter Pakistan at several international platforms. But, when it comes to practical steps to be taken in our favour, the government of India has been consistently failing since the last decades. We have hopes from this Modi government, but so far nothing has come out on our rehabilitation policy.
“The majority population leadership of Jammu and Kashmir had failed to protect the rights of people, including rights and respect of the minorities of Kashmir.
“They also failed to protect the greater autonomy of the state which was given at the time of accession. Kashmir is in dire peril and the first duty of every Kashmiri is to defend his mother land against any intruder”, the statement added.
(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at email@example.com)