Kashmiri Pandits slam demand for restoration of J&K’s special status

Displaced Kashmiri Pandits of India have slammed the demand for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and statehood, raised by an organization called Reconciliation, Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrant Kashmiris, saying that the demand gives a false impression that Kashmiri Pandits are against the abrogation of Article 370.
The Kashmiri Pandits have claimed that the organization, headed by Satish Mahaldar, did not represent displaced Kashmiri Pandits and was backed by Hurriyat Conference, a group of Kashmiri separatist parties.
On July 27, Satish Mahaldar had said that a state has never been downgraded and this is not done in a democracy. Mahaldar had demanded the restoration of the statehood and special status provided to Jammu and Kashmir under the original Article 370.
Responding to the demands by Mahaldar, Prominent Kashmiri Pandit organizations Roots In Kashmir (RIK), Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM) and the apex body of many Kashmiri Pandit organizations All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) have issued a joint press note.
“We condemn the recent statement by the Hurriyat backed Relief & Rehabilitation Committee that gives a false impression that Kashmiri Pandits are against the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state and the creation of the two Union Territories,” Kashmiri Pandit organizations said in their statement.
“The Kashmiri Pandits have had for three decades demanded abrogation of Article 370 & 35A and creation of a Union Territory. It was a Kashmiri Pandit who had filed a PIL against Article 35A. Roots In Kashmir has filed an impleadment motion against the petitions that ask for restoration of Article 370,” Rahul Mahnoori, Senior Leader, Roots In Kashmir said in the joint statement of the Kashmiri Pandit organizations.
“It is well-documented fact that the Kashmiri Pandit community highlighted the flaws of the draconian Articles 370 and 35A. It was because of the efforts of the Kashmiri Pandits, that public opinion was created that forced the government to abrogate these articles,” Dilip Mattoo, President, Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch said in the statement.
“It is a well-known fact that Satish Mahaldar has close ties with separatists especially the Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz. He has earlier even attempted to exonerate the terrorists and separatists for the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. He and his 3-4 member gang for all practical purpose has been disowned by the community and are treated as an outcast,” activist Sanjay Sapru said.
Meanwhile, another Kashmiri Pandit organization Panun Kashmir has also lashed out at Satish Mahaldar and said that the Kashmiri Pandits fought for the abrogation of Article 370 for many decades.
“Article 370 created the basis for converting J&K into a Muslim state on the territory of secular India. Article 370’s removal last year was a liberating act. Kashmiri Pandits had always been at the forefront in the battle against Article 370 and 35A,” said Dr Ajay Chrangoo, Chairman, Panun Kashmir.