Separatist Muhammad Yasin Malik on Wednesday opposed building composite townships for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir, calling these as “townships of hatred”. “We won’t allow these townships of hatred and will oppose it tooth and nail,” the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief said at a press conference here.
However, he said migrant Kashmiri Pandits have every right to return to their ancestral land. “Pandits form an integral part and parcel of our nation. Every pro-freedom leader has appealed them to return home. Senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani has also appealed them to return to their homes,” he added.
Malik said creating separate townships for pandits is inspired by Israeli tactics in Palestine and labelled it as part of Hindu-right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) plan to create communal divide in Kashmir.
“Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed married RSS for power in Kashmir. His assurance to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to acquire land for so-called composite townships is part of a bigger conspiracy to stoke communal fires in Kashmir,” Malik said.
He said the state has a history of communal tolerance and mutual co-existence, which was even acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi in 1947, when the entire sub-continent was gripped by communal violence.
“In 1947, minorities weren’t even touched in the Kashmir Valley despite thousands of Muslims being butchered in the Jammu province then. That is what composite culture actually means,” he said. He questioned the terming of these satellite towns for Pandits as composite townships.
“In composite townships different faiths live together peacefully and this is what Kashmir is known for. The composite townships plan will only add fuel to fire and create walls of hatred among different faiths here,” he said. Malik said there are still more than 10,000 Pandits living in the Kashmir Valley with Muslims as their neighbours.
“Pandits have business establishments even in the city centre and Muslims are their customers. Will you (the government) shift them in these townships, which in essence will be a ghetto,” he asked.
Malik said the government proposal will have “serious consequences” and called for peaceful protests on April 10 and complete strike on Saturday against the proposed move. (IANS)