The Bold Voice of J&K

Jammu inclusive for all; Kashmir ‘out of bounds’ for Jammu Hindus

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JAMMU: A raging undercurrent is discernible across Jammu post Article 370 abrogation that why the Hindus of this side of the Banihal Tunnel are not encouraged to buy lands for residential purposes in the Valley notwithstanding over one lakh accommodations of the majority community from Kashmir having reportedly come up around the city of temples during the past three decades (in addition to the houses constructed by the migrant Kashmiri Panidts). The Hindus of Jammu too want to have residential facilities in the Valley to cool their boots during scorching summers like the Muslims of Kashmir do by cozying themselves in the warmth of Jammu during harsh Valley winters. Being the subjects of the same Union Territory, the Jammu Hindus too aspire to establish businesses in the tourism-rich Kashmir for sustenance and growth. Any issue? The government needs to answer, as Jammu Hindus are not outsiders-a phobia with the Valley based so-called mainstream political parties.

Jammu has unequivocally demonstrated their ‘big heart’ by making this land of Dogras all inclusive and, therefore, why should the Valley be averse to inclusiveness or ‘out of bound’ for the Hindus of Jammu. The onus lies on the apolitical UT administration, which should now work on exchange of cultures and ethnicities rather than focusing on ‘Kashmiri Migrant settlements’ alone. Such a move will not only be in the larger interest of national integration but also to break the iron curtain drawn by radicals, who want Kashmir to be the epicentre of radicalism–free of infidels or Kafirs. For themselves, they want to have the best of both worlds.
The recent selective killings of KP PM Package employee Rahul Bhat and Jammu based teacher Rajni Devi have necessitated such a measure, more than ever before. There were many of the targeted killings to scare away minorities in the recent past. Ranjit Singh of Rajouri, one of the four injured non-Kashmiri Hindu employees of a wine shop in Baramulla in a terror attack, succumbed to his injuries on May 17. The other three injured Hindu employees were Govind Singh from Rajouri, Goverdan Singh and Ravi Kumar, both from Kathua. Prior to this, on April 13, a non Kashmiri Pandit Satish Kumar Singh became target of the radical fanatics on April 13, nearly four months after a non-Kashmiri Hindu teacher Deepak Chand, who along with his local Sikh lady Principal Supinder Kaur were segregated from all their local colleagues and shot dead barbarically.
The issue here is not to count the dead bodies of hapless and innocent Hindus in the Valley but the larger point remains that why should Kashmir be a forbidden land for non-Kashmiri Hindus of the Jammu region-part and parcel of the erstwhile state and the present Union Territory? The current Kashmir society, irrespective of political affiliations or economic conditions, is appreciative of the Jammu’s pluralistic ethos because it reconciled with the subtle demographic change. According to a report prepared by a Jammu based NGO Ikkjut-‘as part of a state-sponsored effort to convert Jammu into a Muslim-majority province so that it could be made more like Kashmir, legislative and executive interventions were made to achieve this objective. It says migration was induced through specific policies. Dubious NGOs who receive funds from Islamic countries helped Muslims buy property in Hindu dominated localities. As a consequence, a ring of Muslim colonies has been formed around Jammu. Ikkjut says that the Waqf Board has also been accused of illegally capturing lands from poor people. Thousands of Kanals of land from the poor people of Jammu have been illegally captured by the Waqf and allotted to people from ‘Samuday Vishesh’ (a particular community). Stunningly, the NGO says that 100,000 residential accommodations have been constructed for a particular community around Jammu since 1990. According to demographic experts, the organisation claims, the Hindu character of Jammu will no longer remain intact in the next few decades and it will become a Muslim majority region.
To reverse the wrongs, the gubernatorial administration should show its will and grit in drawing a roadmap for retrieving Kashmir from radical tentacles.
The self-styled mainstream leaders of the Valley-the beneficiaries of the Jammu hospitality and big heartedness– should also step in by stopping the rants of Kashmir being incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits or adopting resolutions for their return. They should, in fact, work towards making the Valley all inclusive with equitable presence of the Jammu Hindus, which will be a pragmatic solution to erase the footprints of alien radical culture reinforced during the past 32 years. They should shun the hypocrisy of enjoying free environs of Jammu and close down the Valley for the Hindus of the Jammu region, even if it remains restricted to earning their livelihood as of now.
(To be continued)

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