The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently quashed a plea seeking to include Hindu groups and Sikhs into the Prime Minister job package for Kashmiri Pandits. The court said that the pleaded group is a separate identifiable community from Kashmir Pandits, Scheduled Caste, Schedule Tribes, and many others.
Justice Sanjay Kumar on Tuesday pronounced judgment in the said matter of Rajeshwar Singh & Ors v. Union of India & Ors., wherein he said that every individual living in Kashmir is not a Kashmiri Pandit and thus can’t avail the benefits available to the members of the Kashmiri Pandits Community.
It was pleaded that the petitioner community has also been suffering the same, for ages which the privileged community is given an exception to. The court made a statement in response to this which sustains the distinction of the Hindu groups and Sikhs from Kashmiri pandits. The Court refused to group them as Kashmiri Pandits are preposterous and cannot be accepted.
The adjudicator said, “It can’t be rejected that Kashmiri Pandits is a gathering of Kashmiri speaking Brahmins living in the valley with an unmistakable culture, dress, traditions and customs in this manner it is hard to acknowledge that the Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Planned Station, Booked Clans, are essential for Kashmiri Pandits People group and ought to be given the advantage of the Prime Minister reexamined bundle for return and restoration of Kashmiri migrants as contended by the learned counsel.”
In the year 2009, then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh rolled out a package of relief for the return and rehabilitation of the migrants of Kashmir. Under this 6000 government jobs were offered to the community, out of which 4000 had already been fulfilled. Vacancies of 2000 seats were posted by the Jammu and Kashmir Selection Board.
Later on in the year 2020, the packaged scheme was revised and included pandits who have not migrated from Kashmir, provided, a certificate of non-migration issued by the Deputy Commissioner.
It was brought to the court notice that the Deputy Commissioner refused to issue the certificate to the non-Kashmiri Pandit Hindu, which was challenged on the basis that the benefit cannot be restricted to only one set of beneficiaries.
The aggrieved group filed a petition seeking inclusion in the same. Later on, the court quashed the petition and rejected the plea to include Hindu and Sikh groups in the scheme.
The petitioner contended that the term “Kashmiri Pandits” used in SRO 425 of 2017 is wide enough to be interpreted that all non-migrant communities and Hindu Castes residing in Kashmir have suffered the same cruelties as Kashmiri Pandits.
It is still a matter of discussion as to whether the petitioners who are Hindus but not Kashmiri Pandits can still be covered in the ambit of the term “Kashmiri Pandits” as stated by the Court.