Valley Pandits trying to keep tradition alive
Published on: Mar 7, 2016, 12:30 AM
M Aamir Khan
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, March 6
On the eve of Shivaratri today, the non-migrants Pandits said they were struggling to keep their age-old traditions alive and continued to face neglect from the successive governments.
“On Herath (Shivaratri), Kashmir used to bustle with activities (before migration) but now we are struggling to keep our traditions alive. When we offer the nightlong prayers tonight, we will especially pray for the resolution of our demands as we have always been ignored by the Centre and the state,” said Chunni Lal, president, Hindu Welfare Society Kashmir.
After the migration of Kashmiri Pandits, the ‘Herath’ celebrations in the Valley have remained low key.
Pandits traditionally hold nightlong pooja on Shivaratri eve. It is followed by ‘salaam’ the next day (tomorrow). During ‘salaam’, they visit friends and relatives to extend Herath greetings.
Around 630 Pandit families are at present living in the Valley and they, for long, have been alleging step-motherly treatment. They claim that the government is only bothered about the migrants and does not care about those who stayed after the eruption of militancy more than 25 years ago. Their main demands include rehabilitation of the internally displaced non-migrants and job package for their youth.
Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti president Sanjay Tickoo said the return of migrants and redress of other issues was possible only when they would be taken into confidence.
“We (non-migrants) are the real stakeholders but we are never taken into confidence or consulted whenever the Centre forms a committee on Pandit issues. The government should talk to us and only then, issues facing the Pandit community, be it return of migrants or problems faced by the non-migrants, will get addressed,” Tickoo said.
Avtar Krishan, a resident of Sebdan village in Budgam district, regretted that no non-migrant was included in the recently proposed coordination committee on return and rehabilitation of Pandits by the Home Ministry.
“Had the Centre proposed to include any non-migrant, it would have given us confidence. Nobody should be ignored. We too have suffered during the past more than 25 years, especially our children and youth. The non-migrants also need to be suitably rehabilitated,” he said.
Non-displaced KPs too talk of unmet demands!