Kashmir Pandits Languishing story in Squalid Refugee Camps (fwd)
Kashmir Pandits Languishing story in Squalid Refugee Camps, Part I
by Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj
Kashmir Pandits are confined to shabby camps in applling conditions. I
spent a day at Mishriwala Camp in Jammu, talking to inmates and sharing
their life. Mr. Jwahar Lal Thaploo, secretary of this camp, asked me ,
"How can I and my wife or son and his wife lead a normal life, when we
confined to the space of this ten?" The tent is roughly 10 feet square.
In Kashmir Thaploo served an Assistant Executive Enginner with the
government's roads and Building Dept.. For the last 5 years, he has lived
at this camp while continuing to draw his old salary. Under normal
circumstances, hw would have been promoted to the position of
Superintending Enginner. Now he has no jab in the camp to go to. Thaploo
was forced to leave the Kashmir Valley after many of his friends were
brutally murdered. He nurtures the hope of retuning one day, although he
knows that his house and belongings have been incinerated.
Thaploo's major concern is for the future generations. "With so littel
privacy", he asks, "how can there be children? In camp, I saw no infants.
There wer mostly middle aged people or teenagers. The youngest person I
met was Meenakshi Kaul who was preparing for 10 th class exam. She was
seated in a corner of the family tent surrounded by her books. In one
corner of the same samll hovel lunch was being prepared, in another idle
friends of the father were talking animatedly, venting their despair.
Meenakshi felt she could work much better if she just had a quiet corner
to herself where she could concentrate without disturbance.