[Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley

Kshmendra Kaul kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 24 19:39:40 IST 2010

Dear Sonia
The principle (in the point that Pawan sought to make) that I agree with:
Apart from those KPs who are statistically registered as "migrants", there was a substantial number (not registered as 'migrants' and not physically dislocated in the post 1980s violence) who were connected to Kashmir, who regularly visited  Kashmir, who had property in Kashmir, for whom Kashmir continued to be "Home" even if they were not physically present in Kashmir through most of the year.
These people too (apart from the registered 'migrants) got disconnected from Kashmir. These people too got dislocated from Kashmir. These people too got displaced from Kashmir. These people too lost Kashmir
I do not have the resources to estimate the numbers of such people (certainly many tens of thousands) but they have to be added to those who were registered as KP 'migrants'.
Since I do not have any fair estimation of numbers, I do not want to quibble over numbers or what someone said or someone did. 
The "principle" for understanding that I was trying to put across goes much beyond RTIs and Registrations and Testimonies.
I agree with you about the "tragedies of war" and  I do not see the KP problem as the only problem of displacement in the World. 
Try as I will to be dispassionate, I cannot, when I see the erasure of a unique socio-cultural-religious group taking place. The primary reason for that being it getting disconnected from it's environment where it was nurtured and grew.  Since that identity is an intrinsic part of me, each time I reflect on that identity dying out, a part of me dies too.
This is not about individual cases but about a socio-cultural-religious sub-set of the human species. It is about Aborginese and Maoiris and Native-Americans, about the Hangul and the Garyal and the Gir Lion and the Bengal Tiger.
Guess I do not make  much sense.
Take care

--- On Wed, 3/24/10, S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com> wrote:

From: S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley
To: "Kshmendra Kaul" <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com>, "Pawan Durani" <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
Cc: "Sarai" <reader-list at sarai.net>
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 5:56 PM

Dear Kshmendra,

What is the principle of Pawan’s point, which you agree with and which is always overlooked?  

The RTI was filed by Rashneek if I remember correctly and the deflated GoI figure did not distinguish between KP and Muslims killed.  I reacted to Pawan’s assertion of the population of Pandits before exile being 7 million, which he then admitted was a mistake and said that the figure was 7 lakh.  When I pressed further about the source, he said it was his estimate, which Aditya then urged me to believe.  

I find it strange that I am being urged to drop the testimonies of scores of KP’s I have interviewed over the years in the Valley, in Jammu, in Delhi all of whom estimated the population to be around 250-350,000— and that too by young men who claim to further the interests of their community.

As much as I find your story poignant, I see it part and parcel of the larger tragedy of war as it is played out in many parts of the world, be it Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Tibet, Burma or Palestine, and not  with the specific statistics quoted by Pawan. What you describe is what both my father’s side of the family and my mother’s side of the family suffered in different ways when India was partitioned in 1947.  I have a Sinhala friend who lives in exile and cannot return to her home because she questioned the Rajpaksha government in its mad drive against the Tamils of Sri Lanka.  I met Kashmiris in Pakistan who wept and begged me to do something so that they could return home.  I have Tibetan friends who ask me to tell and re-tell my stories of traveling in Tibet, the now-forbidden land.  I make common cause with Burmese students in their annual sit-ins in Jantar Mantar, with the Afghans I meet in Bhogal or Nizamuddin, with my
 Palestinian friend who is walled into one tiny part of her homeland.  War is a terrible thing.  And as I said earlier, if you have the capacity to feel, one person’s suffering is suffering enough.  


From: Kshmendra Kaul <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 03:49:00 -0700 (PDT)
To: "S. Jabbar" <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com>, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
Cc: Sarai <reader-list at sarai.net>
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley

Dear Sonia
I will hazard no guess or estimate on number of KPs who were killed in Kashmir 1980s onwards. 
I will also not guesstimate the number of KPs 'displaced' from Kashmir. 
But I  agree with the principle of the point that Pawan has tried to make and which is most often (always) overlooked.
Let me give my own example.
Our family was not from amongst those who were displaced from Kashmir because of the post 1988 violence.
We had ancestral property in Karan Nagar. Sold as a 'distress sale' due to pressure from my father's cousins.
We had our own House in Jawahar Nagar and Land in Nishat which, seeing the security situation in Kashmir, we sold. Those were not 'distress sales' in terms of fair value received, but were from another point of view "distress sales". The family's visits to Kashmir stopped post 1988 violence and the House was lying unused and rotting away and the Land we were advised is better sold as otherwise it might get 'occupied'.
Pre 1989, we used to visit Kashmir every year and often more than once a year. My parents, after retirement used to spend sometimes upto 6 months in Kashmir although it no longer was home-base.
Our family might not have been kicked out or forced by the security situation to leave but we could no longer go back every year as we used to.
Am I displaced from Kashmir? Is our family displaced?  Were we tourists that went back every year?  
Which statistic do I belong to?
It is not just me or my family, it is many a thousand families who's components might not have had gainful employment or businesses  in Kashmir and might have been resident out of Kashmir (J&K) through most of the year but continued to have a residence in Kashmir (be it in some cases only a small portion in ancestral property) and were year on year regularly spending time in Kashmir. They were in Kashmir for marriages, for other religious and social gatherings, or simply for a holiday. 
Simply for a holiday in exactly the same manner as many a million other go back "home" on Annual Leave, Vacations (students) whichever other part of India or the World (away from "home") they might be employed in, studying in or living in most of the year.
What statistics do those many a tens of thousands KPs (just like me) belong to?  Those who do not back back every year. Those who cannot go back every year . Those to whom Kashmir is lost? 
PS. Why so many KPs were, even Pre-1989, living/working/studying  outside Kashmir (J&K) is another story.  

--- On Wed, 3/24/10, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley
To: "S. Jabbar" <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com>
Cc: "Sarai" <reader-list at sarai.net>
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 10:59 AM

Dear Sonia ,

There are two reports , one in which the minister is quoted as saying
that 219 Pandits were killed in 1990 and the other one in Hindu where
Shujaat Bukhari quotes timeline between 1989-2004.

We had filed an RTI with the home ministry few years back which quoted
around 16K people having died in Kashmir.

The government figure in terms of killing does not contain those where
no police complaint had been filed or where the people were straight
away termed as missing.

Regarding the number of people who have been uprooted , we
unfortunately do not have a specific data . I estimate it to be 700K ,
My estimate is based on rough estimate in major cities across Indian
and abroad.  The Government report may be based on number of people
who are registered as "migrants" .. Just quoting my own family of 6
which includes my parents , only my mother was registered as a migrant
[ No to draw financial support ] as she was a Government school
teacher. In my maternal home , non of the 9 members are registered as



On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:34 AM, S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sonia.jabbar@gmail.com> > wrote:
> But the news item you just posted quoted a figure of 'over 380,000.' Over
> the years I was told by Pandits themselves that the population was around
> 350,000.  This is the first time I've come across your figure of 700,000.
> Please substantiate/explain/quote a source.
> Also pl see this report:
> Date:24/03/2010 URL:
> http://www.thehindu.com/2010/03/24/stories/2010032461230900.htm
> “219 Kashmiri Pandits killed by militants since 1989”
>  Shujaat Bukhari
> 24,202 Pandit families migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil
> Centre sanctioned special package for return, rehabilitation of migrants
> SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday said 219 Kashmiri
> Pandits were killed by militants since 1989 while 24,202 families were among
> the total 38,119 families which migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil.
> Replying to a question from People's Democratic Party member Syed Basharat
> Bukhari, Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla told the Assembly in Jammu that “219
> Pandits were killed in Kashmir from 1989 to 2004. From 2004, no killing of
> any person from the community [Kashmiri Pandits] took place till now,” Mr.
> Bhalla said.
> A total number of 38,119 families comprising 1,42,042 Kashmiri migrants were
> registered with the Revenue and Relief Ministry till now.
> The Minister said the government had also paid an ex gratia of Rs.1 lakh for
> each death. “Besides, an amount of Rs. 39,64,91,838 has been paid as
> compensation to the Pandits on account of damage to their properties since
> the eruption of militancy,” he said.
> An amount of Rs.71.95 crore was spent in providing relief and other
> facilities to the Kashmiri migrants living in Jammu and other parts in
> 2007-08, Rs.70.33 crore in 2008-09 and Rs.68.59 crore from 2009 up to
> January, 2010.
> Mr. Bhalla said the government was committed to facilitating their return to
> Kashmir but regretted that no action could be taken on various plans and
> recommendations as the situation was not conducive for their return.
> “With the improvement in the situation in the Valley, the government decided
> to construct 200 flats at an estimated cost of Rs.22.90 crore at Sheikhpora
> Budgam in 2004. And 120 flats have so far been completed of which possession
> of 60 flats was taken over by the department and inspection of other 60
> flats is going on. The construction of remaining 80 flats shall be completed
> during 2010. Besides, 18 flats have also been constructed through the Jammu
> and Kashmir Housing Board at Mattan Anantnag,” he told the House.
> A committee headed by M.L. Koul, the then Finance Commissioner, Planning and
> Development Department, was formed to prepare an action plan for the return
> and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley. In its report
> submitted to the government in 1997-98, the committee recommended a package
> of Rs.2,799.11 crore for the return of migrants.
> Mr. Bhalla said a special package of Rs. 1,618.40 crore was sanctioned by
> the Government of India for the return and rehabilitation of the migrants.
> “Under this scheme, 3,000 supernumerary posts have been created, exclusively
> for the Kashmiri migrants, willing to return to the Valley. These posts have
> already been referred to the recruiting agencies and the process for the
> selection of these posts is on,” he said.
> But, despite all these rehabilitation packages, not a single Kashmiri
> migrant has returned to the Valley, the Minister rued.
> He said that 808 Pandit families consisting of 3,445 people were still
> living in the Valley.
> “These families have never migrated,” he said.
> © Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu
>> From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=pawan.durani@gmail.com> >
>> Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 10:18:41 +0530
>> To: "S. Jabbar" <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sonia.jabbar@gmail.com> >
>> Cc: Sarai <reader-list at sarai.net <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=reader-list@sarai.net> >
>> Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley
>> My apologies..... My whole days goes into $ conversion into INR ....I
>> got lost into that . It should have been 700 K.
>> On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:16 AM, S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sonia.jabbar@gmail.com> > wrote:
>>> Are you serious?  Please explain.  I am truly baffled.
>>>> From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=pawan.durani@gmail.com> >
>>>> Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 10:14:44 +0530
>>>> To: "S. Jabbar" <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sonia.jabbar@gmail.com> >
>>>> Cc: Sarai <reader-list at sarai.net <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=reader-list@sarai.net> >
>>>> Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley
>>>> Yes !
>>>> On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:13 AM, S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=sonia.jabbar@gmail.com> > wrote:
>>>>> 7 million?
>>>>>> From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=pawan.durani@gmail.com> >
>>>>>> Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:38:26 +0530
>>>>>> To: reader-list <reader-list at sarai.net <http://us.mc572.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=reader-list@sarai.net> >
>>>>>> Subject: [Reader-list] Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir valley
>>>>>> "A Seven million community reduced to three thousand by Jihadis &
>>>>> Islamic
>>>>>> fanatics"
>>>>> http://sify.com/news/Less-than-3-500-Pandits-left-in-Kashmir-valley
>>>>>> -news-National-kdxtabhbiji.html
>>>>> Less than 3,500 Pandits left in Kashmir
>>>>>> valley
>>>>> 2010-03-23 19:00:00
>>>>> A massive demographic change has taken place in
>>>>>> Kashmir valley which
>>>>> now has a mere 3,445 Kashmiri Pandits left as against
>>>>>> more than
>>>>> 380,000 in 1990, Jammu and Kashmir Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla
>>>>>> said
>>>>> Tuesday.
>>>>> Making the disclosure in the state legislative assembly, the
>>>>>> minister
>>>>> said that 'only 808 families of Kashmiri Pandits were living in
>>>>>> the
>>>>> valley' and the total number of men, women and children of the
>>>>> community
>>>>>> there 'is 3,445'.
>>>>> Bhalla said that most of the Kashmiri Pandits had fled the
>>>>>> valley in
>>>>> 1990 because of fear of militants. 'The killing of community
>>>>>> members
>>>>> led to a fear psychosis in the community,' he said, adding that
>>>>>> 219
>>>>> Kashmiri Pandits were killed in 1990.
>>>>> Though the minister did not specify
>>>>>> it, the number of the families
>>>>> living in the valley included 31 families of
>>>>>> Kashmiri Pandits living
>>>>> in a protected zone in Sheikhpora in Budgam district
>>>>>> and also the
>>>>> officials working in the banks and central government departments
>>>>>> and
>>>>> organisations. Their exact number is however not known.
>>>>> More than 350,000
>>>>>> Kashmiri Pandits had fled the valley in 1990.
>>>>> Those who stayed back, migrated
>>>>>> after massacres of the community
>>>>> members in Sangrampora in Budgam district in
>>>>>> March 1997, Wandhama in
>>>>> Ganderbal, near Srinagar, in January 1998 and Nadimarg
>>>>>> in south
>>>>> Kashmir in March 2003.
>>>>> Kashmiri Pandits are now mostly living in
>>>>>> Jammu and Udhampur within
>>>>> the state, and in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and
>>>>>> Maharashtra.
>>>>> Bhalla, however, reiterated the state government's resolve to
>>>>>> bring
>>>>> the community back to the valley. He said that work is on to
>>>>>> construct
>>>>> the transit accommodation for them in the valley, where they would
>>>>>> be
>>>>> housed before their original properties are restored to them.
>>>>> Prime
>>>>>> Minister Manmohan Singh has announced a Rs.1,618 crore relief
>>>>> and
>>>>>> rehabilitation package for the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to
>>>>> the 'land of
>>>>>> their grandfathers and great grandfathers,' during his
>>>>> visit to Jammu April
>>>>>> 25, 2008.
>>>>> _________________________________________
>>>>> reader-list: an open
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