January 2021 News

31 years on, displaced nonagenarian Kashmiri Pandit still waiting to return to home in valley

19 January 2021
PTI
Anil Bhatt

Jammu: Exactly 31 years ago, M L Dhar was forced to leave his home in Kashmir along with lakhs of other Kashmiri Pandits. He is 92 now and waiting at a migrant camp on the outskirts of Jammu city for his return to the valley. Dhar said he is disheartened that even after the abrogation of Article 370, the government 'failed' to take steps for return and rehabilitation of displaced Kashmir Pandits at one place of settlement in Kashmir. This, he said, seems to have dashed his hopes to 'relive and die' in Kashmir. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandit families are putting up at the camp near here, after their mass migration from the valley following outbreak of militancy in early 1990 which forced them out of their homeland. 'I thought my prayers to return to Kashmir to settle at one place along with the community have been heard as the Article 370 was done away with. I hope that the government will take measures to announce a return policy. But nothing has been done by them', Dhar told PTI. Dhar, who used to live in South Kashmir's Kulgam district, said, 'My last hope has been dashed. The statement of the Lieutenant Governor that those few thousand youths who have and will be given jobs under the PM package has been projected as returning instead of leaving a future of 7 lakh KPs'. Sitting in his one-room set at the biggest Kashmiri migrant camp at Jagti on the outskirts of Jammu city, Dhar and his wife Rani say they have been living as 'refugees in our own country' for three decades but 'nothing' is being done for their return and rehabilitation. 'We don't have any demand other than taking us back to our home and giving us a secured and safe environment to relive and die there. we are not demanding a multi-crore package. we demand our right to relive and die in our homeland', the couple said. The displaced community members observe January 19 as 'holocaust day'.