Representational Image. Image Courtesy: India Today
The much-talked about two-day visit of the 15 foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir has “disappointed” Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) residing at Jammu migrant camps. On January 10, the delegation of envoys met migrant KPs residing at the Jagti refugee camp.
Notably, this was the first visit by the foreign delegation to the migrant camp after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked and the state was relegated to a union territory (UT.) NewsClick spoke to the Kashmiri Pandits residing at the Jagti migrant camp who expressed their disappointment at not being allowed to put forth their grievances.
“The visit was guided by the Government of India and only those KPs, who were associated with the BJP, were given the foremost attention. We tried talking to the delegates, but the state government bureaucrats restricted us. We know that the delegates were instructed by the BJP government, but we also hoped that we will be allowed to express our vulnerability after 30 years of living on the edge,” said Sunil Pandit, Jagti migrant camp resident who also attended the meeting with his friends at the camp.
The envoys visited Jagti camp to listen to a first-hand account of the situation at the migrant camps. “Jagti is in shambles. There is no medical facility. The residents are not receiving ration on time. Since past four months, we haven’t received sugar, which is a part of our ration. People are poor here. We wanted the foreign delegation to listen to us and ask the government to improve our condition here first,” Pandit added.
Another migrant KP residing at the camp said, “This visit by the foreign delegation was a farce. Many people didn’t even find out that foreign delegates had come here. These migrant flats had been given to us by the Congress. We voted for BJP and BJP has done almost nothing to improve our condition here. We were used by the Congress first—at least, they gave us something—now, we are being used by the BJP.”
A few Kashmiri Pandits spoke about the resettlement issue. “We were asked whether we want to return. Yes, we want to return, but also, we don’t want to die here at the camps like this. We were asked about the packages we were getting. But mostly, the BJP representatives were answering the questions. We tried explaining our helplessness to the foreign envoys, but our voices were throttled,” said a KP, who also attended the meeting.
The foreign delegation had its first meeting in Srinagar, followed by an interaction with the civil society members. The delegation also met a group of politicians whose detention has recently ended. After Srinagar, delegation came to Jammu to meet KPs, civil society members and others. The visit by the envoys was to assess the ground situation in the newly formed UT.