Kashmiri Pandits' Displacement Should Not Have Happened: Pillai

15 November 2009

New Delhi: Reaching out to the Kashmiri Pandits, Union home secretary GK Pillai today said internal displacement of the community should not have happened. Pillai, who was speaking at a one day conclave of a prominent Kashmiri body said, 'One cannot imagine a Kashmir without Kashmiri Pandits in it,' inviting a round of applause from about 400 community members who had come for the event. 'Internal displacement of Kashmiri Pandits should not have happened,' Pillai said during his address at the All India Kashmiri Samaj conclave. He also said it was not proper to use the term immigrants for Kashmiri Pandits, an issue which speakers before him had raised. Pillai said that from last month, the home ministry has introduced a magazine on Kashmir for its staff, and that he would do everything possible to help the Kashmiri Pandits' cause, but stressed that they will have to work as a community. Giving credit to Kashmiris, who, he said, are known for their intellect, Pillai stressed on the need for them to move ahead as a community. The conclave, attended by Pandits from across the country and abroad, saw a number of speakers espousing their keenness to go back and settle down in the state from where they were forced to leave in the '90's due to militancy. Professor Surender Munshi, one of the speakers said the community should fight the term 'migrants' and said efforts should be made to let people know that they are living in exile in their own country. He said it is also important to call themselves Kashmiri Hindus rather than Pandits as the latter term tends to create prejudices. 'Other Indians hardly know that Kashmiri Pandits mean Kashmiri Hindus. There is no other caste for the Hindus in Kashmir. It is the exodus of not Pandits but Hindus as a whole,' he said. The speakers also said Kashmiri Pandits should be brought under the category of minorities and should be entitled to all rights given to such groups.