Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Return Jobs

Abdul Rahim Rather, just in case you don’t know who he is, The Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir announced (during his budget speech) a job package of 15000 jobs for Kashmiri Pandits to enable them back to Kashmir.One would be tempted to believe that Mr.Rather is rather catholic and philanthropic only if one wouldn’t know the ground reality of Private Sector in Kashmir,the state of its PSU’s,the unemployment figures and last but not the least the fate of myriad packages that subsequent State and Central Governments have announced for the displaced Pandits. To give the reader an idea of what happened to the much hyped Rs 1600 crore package announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister here it is.So far only 1.6 crore of that money has been sanctioned to be spent of various welfare schemes for Pandits.

You may have made the right noises and played to the national media by projecting yourself as a man with secular credentials but Sir please don’t fool yourself into believing that there are 15000 jobs in entire Jammu and Kashmir leave alone Kashmir valley.Even today there aren’t 15000 people hired by the private organised sector in all of Kashmir.

Be that as it may, can anyone please tell the minister that it isn’t jobs that will lure us back to Kashmir because it weren’t jobs that “lured” us to the plains? The minister is either too blind to facts or so na├»ve that he doesn’t even understand this. This isn’t the first time that a minister has offered such a simple solution to such a complex problem. We have seen in the past how various politicians across the Political hue have offered such silly solutions like giving us money to “rebuild” our houses or offering us “jobs” in far flung areas of Kashmir. Understandably there have been no takers for such offers. This should have made the government understand that such offers will remain just offers unless basic issues of reversal of ethnic cleansing, instituting a commission of enquiry to probe murders of Kashmiri Pandits, destruction of their property and religious shrines.

I am tired of repeating this but not even one person has been punished for killings of Pandits and the Hon’ble minister if giving us lure of jobs. Imagine how Sarla Bhat’s relatives would feel every time they see her rapist Yasin Malik roaming as a leader. Imagine how Satish Tiku’s father would feel every time he sees Bitta Karate. There are thousands of such people who may want jobs but then wouldn’t feel like returning unless they see killers and rapists of their relatives punished. Imagine how I would feel when I go back to my village knowing very well that amongst them are the people who looted my house before they burnt it.

Mr.Minster please get it right. We need jobs, we want to return to our homes but before that we demand a life of dignity, we demand the right to practice our religion, we demand a right to justice.

I am told that Allama Iqbal is a huge favourite for invocation in Kashmir these days. So here for you Mr.Minister,Allama Iqbal’s answer to your job offer

Ah Tahir-e-lahauti us rizik se maut ache
Jis rizik se aatee ho parwaaz main kohtai