‘Modern’ Muslims support separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits

Jammu and Kashmir News

Srinagar: With the separatists opposing Government’s move to resettle 3.50 lakh displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, there are nearly 2,000 migrant Muslim families who are in support of the idea. They are upholding the idea of separate township and want to live along with the Pandits.

These families, labelled as the enemies of ‘Azadi movement’, had to leave Valley after facing threats from militants, due to their political affiliations or deemed ‘too modern’ by the fanatic groups that emerged between 1989 and 1990.

Most of these Muslim migrant families now live in Jammu. Other nearly 150 families live in a ‘security zone’ that consists of hotels and government buildings in Srinagar after their properties were set ablaze by militants or hounded out by the villagers fearing reprisal. 

The ongoing political opposition and the threat of violence by separatists has somehow deflected the construction of multi-storey flats and other transit accommodation facilities for migrants especially the Pandits.

The General Secretary of J&K Political Migrants Forum, a Muslim migrants representative body, Ghulam Nabi Bhat, said that their people were forced to leave for opposing ‘tehreek’ and supporting the start of a political process. He added that their families received death threats and warning notes were plastered on their homes which left them with no other option than to evacuate. He continued saying that there is nothing wrong in establishing a transit camp to allow their resettlement.

Many of those Muslim families who were displaced from the Valley are seen selling Kashmiri shawls and carpets in various cities of the country and many of them receive cash assistance just like the Pandits.

Ghulam Mohidin Sofi, who escaped from Baramulla after working as a polling agent in the 1996 parliamentary elections, is still apprehensive of his return. He declared that since then he has been living in a room allotted by the government in Srinagar.

There are many like him, who believe that the idea is not communal rather its a matter of security for the migrants, and wants the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti to support the cause of a separate colony.
Few of the Muslim and Sikh displaced families also live in camps established for displaced people at Muthi, Purkhoo, Mishriwala, Nagrota and Jagti in Jammu in 1990, but a majority of them live in rented accommodations or under the protection of the government outside the Valley.

As per the governmental data sheets, there are about 62,000 registered displaced Kashmiri families who migrated from the Valley at the onset of militancy. A majority of them are Hindus while nearly 5,000 are Sikh and Muslim families. About 38,119 registered Kashmiri families are residing in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 in other states.


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