Kashmiri pandits look warily at govt's election move - by Rakesh Rocky Back   Home  
The Jammu and Kashmir government's move to hold `elections' in the camps of Kashmiri pandit (KP) migrants in Jammu region has hot up the political scene in the state. Besides, it has created controversy as most of the KP organisations feel that the government's move is aimed at causing a wedge in the community.

Elderly Kashmiri Pandits look at it as a purely political move. The government wants to kill two birds with one stone. Apart from creating a division among the KP leaders, it wants to take hold of the community by planting their own men in the newly constituted committees, they said.

"KPs are not only living in the camps. Hundreds of them, who are putting up at other places, also face problems,'' Ashok Barbuzoom, president of All Kashmiri Pandit Youth Front, complained.

Kashmiri Pandits are divided and have many organisations in the state. ``Taking advantage of this situation, the government wants to use them for their petty interests,'' said Rakesh Kaul, vice president of Kashmiri Pandit Youth Front.

``What is the constitutional importance of these elections. This is just a political game,'' said Ajay Churangoo, president of Panun Kashmir.

Some KP leaders, however, are of the view that elections in the migrant camps would help the community in resolving their problems. "This will bridge the gap between the migrants and the government.'' Jagbir Singh, newly-elected representative of camp development community (CDC) from Muthi (I) camp, said.

Another CDC member Kashmiri Lal Bhat opined that Farooq government had been doing many things for the betterment of the KP migrants.

When contacted Harbans Singh, minister, refuted the allegations that the elections in the camps were being held for some political motive. ``Government is concerned about the migrants' problems and now there are people, who can tell us about their problems,'' he said.

But, many KP leaders feel that the government was not sincere in resolving their problems. ``If they are honest why KPs were barred from casting their votes in the recently held panchayat elections,'' Rakesh Kaul, general secretary of Youth Front of Kashmiri Pandits, questioned.

Few days ago when Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had visited the camps he assured the migrants of holding elections in their camps so that the elected representatives could take up their problems with the government.
Published in IndianExpress