New Delhi: Hindu Pandits who have been displaced from the Kashmir Valley hailed the decision to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said they hoped this will help them return to their lost homes.
“This is certainly a historical and bold decision. The people of Kashmir will soon get closer to the government of India and this will boost the economy of the two newly formed Union Territories,” said Manoj Bhan, a member of Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch.
“We must congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for introducing a historic measure. I hope this fulfils our dream of getting back to the Valley,” said Satish Mahaldar, another Pandit leader.
The comments came soon after Home Minister Amit Shah announced that Article 370 was being scrapped and that Jammu and Kashmir would be split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
Both Pandit leaders said the steps would help Jammu and Kashmir’s economy and allow industries to flourish in the area.
Mahaldar added: “Apart from revoking 370 and bifurcating the state, the government must also constitute a SIT to investigate the genocide committed 30 years ago.
“We demand that the guilty must be booked for their crimes and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir must be assured.”
Thousands of Hindu Pandits fled the Kashmir Valley in 1989 following the start of an armed separatist campaign to secede in Jammu and Kashmir.
Some 200-odd Kashmiri Pandits had made Hyderabad their home for decades now after fleeing from Kashmir. They said that with the scrapping, Kashmiri Pandits can now ‘return home’ .
Rahul Razdan (42), working at an MNC in Gachibowli told a leading daily that scrapping Article 370 conveys the true meaning that India is one.
“We never imagined that there would come a day when J&K would be bifurcated and Article 370 will be scrapped. I had given up all hope that something like this would happen in my lifetime. Now that it has, it is only a matter of time before I am back in my home town Srinagar,” Razdan was quoted saying by a daily.
“For close to 29 years we have been living like refugees in our own country. But not any more. I am just waiting for things to settle down and I will go back to Srinagar. I feel bad for my grandfather and father who breathed their last away from their home town. But I would want to die there,” he adds.