T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue X

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

February 2003

I N S I D E


 

Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Comment     

Balraj Puri

 

Column     

Sunita Vakil                          

View Point      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K Watt 

                  

Opinion

Sushil Vakil

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Romeet K WATT

 

Perspective

T R Jawahar

 

Last Word

Sunita Vakil 

 

                            


 

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O P I N I O N

Bollywood takes up KP's cause

Sushil Vakil


Mufti Mohammed Syed, Chief Minister of J & K state and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, the Vice- President of Peoples Democratic Party are on a whirl winding tour of some of the flourishing states of the country interacting with the politicians, businessmen and the who is who of the Bollywood industry.

 

The purpose behind the tour is to mobilise the investments and boost industrial confidence in the state, they say so. The senior Mufti has exhumed the confidence that his government has already received unprecedented business proposals worth Rs 800 - 1,000 Crores since he began industrial promotion drive in the state.

 

The father daughter duo had to eat a humble pie when they commenced business promo drive from bustling tinsel town of Mumbai. They made little headway while inviting the corporate and the hospitality industry but received a tongued bashing from some of the film stalwarts having leanings towards the Kashmiri Pundits the aborigines who are presently living outside the state and under the worst conditions.

 

The most eloquent among them were Anupam Kher, Javeed Akhtar and Ashok Pandit. Others who attended the meet were Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Pahlaj Nihalani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Shabana Azmi and Ramesh Sippy. At a dinner organised in honour of the visiting dignitaries the bigwigs from the film industry had a war of words with Mehbooba Mufti over the resettlement of Kashmiri Pundits back in the valley.

 

The “ informal “ chat ‘ between the leading personalities and the PDP Vice-President turned into a soar exchange when Anupam Kher raised the cause of the Kashmiri Pandit refugees. Anupam Kher with a bleeding heart asked mufti to spend some time in the camps of Kashmiri Pundits before seeking the Bollywood participation in shooting their films in the Kashmir valley.

 

He further urged mufti to salve the wounds of the Kashmiri pundits before inviting us to shoot in the valley Mr Kher further ridiculed the Mufti reminding him that his friend Satish Kaushik often jokes, “we do not need to shoot in Kashmir because Kashmiris are shooting themselves “.

 

Javed Akhter hitting the hammer said to Mufti, “ You cannot bring peace unless Kashmiri Pundits are resettled.” He further said that the character of Kashmir is incomplete without the Pundits. In between the words of war there had been intermittent interruptions by Anupam Kher and the Ashok Pandit, both belonging to the Kashmiri Pandit community.

 

Mr Vidhu Vinod Chopra the maker of Mission Kashmir also made some reservation but they were regarding the corrupt practices indulged by some of the officers in the tourism department.

 

Mehbooba took exception to Anupam Kher’s speech and criticised him for making assumptions that Mufti’s were not sympathetic to the cause of Kashmiri Pundits. She mollified Kher with the emotional words that she had grown up with the Kashmiri Pundits and taken refuge in their homes when she fought with her parents.

 

However, the attitude of Mufti Sayeed was toned down while commenting on the issue of the Kashmiri Pandit refugees, saying, “ We must hang our heads in shame for our own people have become homeless. We will not rest till they come back. I am determined to give them back their land.”

 

From beginning to end during the interaction both the father and daughter appeared uncomfortable as there was no end in sight over the Kashmiri Pundits resettlement issue. The Mufti duo was on a happy mission to sell the state to the corporate, hospitality industry and the film personalities and would have no inkling that they would be facing such hostile and uncomfortable questions.

 

But fact is fact, before commencing their business and tourism promotion Yatra, the father and daughter should have visited the refugee camps inhabited by the Kashmiri Pundits in the Jammu city and enquired about their sufferings.

 

The father and daughter claim that they are the well wishers of the KP’s and most concerned about them but the community members would like to ask, “ what have they done for the refugees since they took over the reins of the state.” They feel that the Mufti’s have so far failed to take any concrete action towards resettlement and solving immediate problems confronting them.

 

  • Author is Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Kashur Gazette

  • By an exclusive arrangement with Weekly Kashur Gazette, New Delhi

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