24 July, 2021

The Long Hurt Won’t Go Away

The Pandits want a Union territory of their own

The Long Hurt Won’t Go Away

Kashmiri Pandits did not leave the Valley because of money and are unlikely to return for the love of money. This is what Pandit after Pandit tells you in Jammu. “I had to leave because of this,” says Daya Krishan at the Purkhoo refugee camp on the city’s outskirts, displaying his sacred thread. The thread would turn into a noose for him in the Valley if he chose to return, he declares, clearly reluctant to leave the camp.

He was 31 when he left in 1990. Now reti­red, he tells Outlook, “We lived in a tent at Udhampur for three years. Later, we moved into a room provided by the government at Battal Balian. We got another room, kitchen and bathroom constructed at our own exp­e­nse. But in 2008 we had to shift to Purkhoo because of increasing industrial pollution.”

He has travelled once to the Valley to take a look at the house he left. And his experience was not pleasant. “The new generation of Kashmiris sees us as intruders; our land and property have been encroached. So what is the point of returning?”...

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