Muslim Woman Leads Pandits' Cause In Valley
12 February 2006
The Indian Express
Jammu: This Kashmiri Muslim woman from Srinagar has a mission very different from that of most of her political peers. Dr Darakshan Andrabi, who heads the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) has been working in Kashmiri migrant camps here to motivate Kashmiri Pandit youths to fight for their rights.Today, she flagged off a second group of 36 Pandit boys, who will take part in the recruitment drive of the Territorial Army in Anantanag tomorrow. In the first batch which left some days ago, 38 Pandit boys had participated in a similar recruitment drive in Baramulla Kupwara region. Darakshan said she is not guaranteeing jobs to Pandit youths, but motivating them to fight for their rights and guiding them to get their share in government jobs denied to them till date. Talking to The Indian Express, Darakshan said she was fed up with the lip-service of most leaders who practically did nothing at the ground level to improve the lot of Pandit youths languishing due to unemployment. Asked what inspired her, she said, 'I just listened to my conscience and felt I should help my brothers in distress,' she says. Pointing out that there were a number of parties such as the All Party Hurriyat Conference, JKLF and PDP, which had been making tall claims of bringing Pandits back to their homes and hearths, Darakshan alleged there was no seriousness. Taking a dig at the Hurrriyat, she alleged that Mirwaiz Umer Farooq's recent visit to Jammu was more of a political gimmick to garner support of Kashmiri Pandits. Darakshan's efforts is being lauded by the Pandit community here.