Ground Report | New Delhi: Hindus living in Kashmir; The Jammu and Kashmir high court has ruled that other Hindu Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley are not entitled to government benefits as Kashmiri Pandits with centuries-old identities, traditions and cultures are different.
Hindus living in Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir High Court Judge Justice Sanjeev Kumar, however, rejected the argument of the Hindu groups, saying that the group (Kashmiri Pandits) was a specific community with a separate identity. Its identity, culture, civilization, traditions, and way of life are very different from other Hindus living in the valley, including Rajputs, Kashmiri Pandits, other Brahmins, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and many other groups.
“It is illogical to include other groups with Kashmiri Pandits, so this request cannot be accepted,” he said.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar further said in his judgment, “There is no denying the fact that the Kashmiri Pandit, in general, refers to a community of Kashmiri-speaking Brahmins who have lived in the valley for generations and have their own distinctive dress, There are lifestyles and traditions. Therefore, it is difficult to accept the argument that Kashmiris, Rajputs, Scheduled Castes, non-Kashmiri Brahmins should be treated like Kashmiri Pandits and they too should benefit from the new aid package announced by the Prime Minister for the return of Kashmiri Pandits And it’s done for resettlement. “
In 2009, the then Dr. Manmohan Singh government launched a Prime Minister’s package for the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits. Under the scheme, 6,000 government jobs were announced for Kashmiri Pandits. 4,000 posts have already been filled but the government had issued notifications for another 2,000 posts last year.
The High Court said that the Sikh community had also applied for benefits under the Prime Minister’s scheme but the court had already rejected it.
Disappointment among Kashmiri Hindus
Under the newly amended scheme, the government announced the allocation of jobs for Kashmiri Pandits who did not migrate from Kashmir. Such candidates had to present a certificate of ‘Non-Immigration’ from the concerned Deputy Commissioners. The Deputy Commissioners, however, refused to issue such certificates to non-Kashmiri Pandits.
Affected Hindus filed a petition in the High Court against it, saying the benefits of the government scheme should not be limited to a particular class.
Kashmiri Hindus say they have lived in the valley since the last 300-400 years of Sikh and Pathan rule. ”They already have a domicile certificate before Kashmir’s special constitutional status is abolished. He was listed as a Kashmiri Hindu non-refugee in the 2010 census but was expelled in 2020 when he was hoping to get a government job.
The leader of an organization of Kashmiri Hindus said he was deeply hurt by the court’s decision and was considering appealing to the high court.