NEW DELHI : India’s first Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has asked for a ‘truth and reconciliation panel’ for providing justice to Kashmiri Pandits, who have been exiled from their land for more than three decades now.
Habibullah, who served as Divisional Commissioner of eight districts of Kashmir in 1990-91 and 1993, said that he would like to present himself as witness before the panel if it is formed.
The year 1990 witnessed mass exodus of Pandits from the Kashmir valley after announcements were made from mosques that Hindu men will have to leave the Valley and if they do not do that, they will have to adopt Islam, failing which they will be slaughtered.
The recently released movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ has once again opened the old wounds and the atrocities committed on Kashmiri Pandits.
Talking about the issue with IANS, Habibullah said: “Truth and reconciliation Commission should be formed so that what Kashmiri Pandits faced that time is known to the people. Instead of blaming each other, the Commission can find out who is behind all this and I will like to present myself before it to tell them what happened then.”
“Why administration is not accountable. It was administration’s failure. Announcements were made from the mosques, fearing which the Kashmir Pandits fled. At that time, officers were sitting at home. Wasn’t it their responsibility to come out and stop the exodus… If the officers had also felt threatened, they would have either fulfilled their responsibility or left the job.”
On ‘The Kashmir Files’, Habibullah said that he has neither seen the movie nor intends to…, adding that whatever happened in Kashmir was shameful.
“Whatever happened in Delhi with Sikhs in 1984, with Muslims in Gujarat and Christians in Odisha is shameful. I don’t want to see this film because watching it will make me sad,” he said.
“When Kashmiri Pandits faced mass exodus, I was deployed in Kashmir. At that time Jammu and Kashmir’s Governor was Jagmohan and and I was called to Kashmir from Lakshadweep by then Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.”
After the release of the movie, Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora has said that they will demand a separate city for Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir. On this, Habibullah said, then Delhi should also have a separate city for Sikhs, Gujarat should have separate city for Muslims.
“Has this demand made by Kashmiri Pandits who are residing in Kashmir?” Habibullah asked.
Not a single Kashmiri Pandit residing in the Valley has raised this demand, he claimed.
Habibullah demanded jobs for those Kashmiri Pandits who are residing in the Valley and also to those who want to settle down there.
Despite the District Magistrates of Nadimarg and Wandhama having information about terrorists killing Pandits, the government could not stop them. No action was taken against the District Magistrates and surprisingly, the IG was promoted, he claimed.
Habibullah demanded action against the then DMs and IG, who he said did not fulfill their responsibility to protect the Hindus. -IANS