September 2006 News

Kashmiris Who Return Regret They Had Left

12 September 2006

Jammu: Nawab Din's visit to his ancestral village in India's Jammu and Kashmir state was a dream come true. Now this 100-year-old from Pakistan-administered Kashmir is unwilling to return to the 'substandard' place he made his home 40 years ago. A resident of Mirpur in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Nawab Din's visit this summer to Budhal village in Rajouri district, 150 km from Jammu, brought back cherished memories. He says he would prefer dying here to going back. A longing to meet relatives in Jammu and Kashmir and the poor living conditions in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are making many Kashmiris who had left India decades ago rue their decision. Din crossed the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in 1965. He returned to his village after travelling through the Poonch-Rawlakote road that was thrown open June 20 to link the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir. Din now says that he wants to die at his ancestral village and that his coffin should be carried to the graveyard by his relatives and childhood neighbours. He had permission to stay here only till Aug 28. Din tried to extend his stay by seeking permission from the Indian foreign ministry. Unfortunately for him, his request was rejected and he was asked to go back to Pakistan-administered Kashmir or face action. He is not willing to do that. He says life there is tough. Now, the police have taken him to Poonch, and he is likely to be pushed back to the Pakistani part of Kashmir. Din maintained that many like him, with hopes of a better life, were waiting for a chance to return to their native places on the Indian side. 'By crossing the LoC in 1965 I committed a big blunder,' his relatives quoted him as saying.


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