Even as the state legislative Assembly on January 19, 2017 passed a historic resolution seeking the return of migrants, mainly Kashmiri Pandits, the people of Kashmir look equally eager to welcome back their displaced brethren who left their homeland on this day 27 years ago. From elderly people, who turn nostalgic of the “good old days spent in communal harmony” to the young blood most of whom only know “stories of these sweet-memories”, in Kashmir almost everyone believes that it’s high time for the migrants to return.
Altaf Ahmed, a young researcher, who has done his specialization in peace and conflict studies from Islamic university believes that it has been a “terrible experience for migrant Pandits to live in exile.” “They need to forget the past and come back to this multi-cultural society, the way it used to be till 90s.”
Mujtaba Rivi, an artist and cultural entrepreneur says there are “layers of complexities” associated with the migration. “But there are no doubts that every Kashmiri wants them to return,” he says, hoping that mainstream and separatist parties come to common terms on this issue. “But they should return to their homes, not separate colonies.”
Some businessmen like Fathan Kitab, who is also the Media Head of the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, hold a similar opinion. National Conference youth leader Abid Wani, on the other hand, is happy that his party initiated that resolution seeking the return of the migrants. “But frankly speaking resolutions won’t bring back people, only the one who strives for their return can make difference.”
Mir Basit Hussain, a journalist who has been keenly monitoring the development says the resolution passed in the Assembly is a welcome step. “But the only issue is that they should settle with us and not at any separate colonies.”