All Kashmiri Hindus are not Kashmiri Pandits: High Court

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HIGH Court of J&K and Ladakh Tuesday ruled that all Kashmiri Hindus are not Kashmir Pandits.

“It is difficult, to accept the contention of coun-sel for the petitioners that the petitioners, who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Caste non-Kashmiri Brahmins etc. etc.

should be treated as Kashmiri Pandits and admitted to the benefits of Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants given effect to by the Rules of 2009 read with SRO 425 of 2017, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said.

On behalf of the petitioners, advocate Altaf Mehraj argued that in the absence of any definition of “Kashmiri Pandits” given in the SRO, all Hindus, who are staying in Kashmir Valley and did not mi-grate like non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, should be treated as “Kashmiri Pandits”.

Observing that it is true that neither in SRO 425 nor in the Rules of 2009 as amended vide SRO 425 of 2017, the term “Kashmiri Pandit family” has been defined, the Court said: “What is, however, defined in Rule 2(ca) is the term “Kashmiri Pandit” which means a person belonging to “Kashmiri Pan-dit Family” who has not migrated from Kashmir Valley after 1st of November, 1989 and is presently residing in Kashmir Valley.

In the absence of spe-cific definition of the term “Kashmiri Pandit fam-ily”, the only way to find out the true meaning of the term is to apply the common parlance principle”.

“There is no denying the fact that in common parlance, Kashmiri Pandit is a community of Kash-miri speaking Brahmins living in the Valley from generations and are distinctly identified by their dress, customs and traditions etc. —GK

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