SRINAGAR A Kashmiri Pandit, who had to leave the Valley after being shot at four times by unknown gunmen in 1990, returned to his homeland after 29 years and resumed his trade in Srinagar on Wednesday. There is no place like Kashmir, he said.
Roshan Lal Mawa got a rousing welcome by Kashmiri Muslim traders at Zainakadal a commercial hub. The traders honoured him with ‘dastarbandi’ (tying of a white headgear).
“This is the highest honour I have received in my life. I have travelled across the country but there is no place like Kashmir. Kashmiriyat is alive and kicking,” Mawa told reporters.
“The brotherhood between Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits is intact.”
Mawa said he had to leave Kashmir after he was shot at four times at his shop on Oct 13, 1990, and thereafter he settled in Delhi.
“I have business in Delhi, I have a nice house there. But the longing to be back among my people made me spend these 29 years in sighs and sobs,” he said.
Asked if other Kashmiri Pandits should also return, Mawa said they should look for opportunities.
“Ninety nine per cent Kashmiris are humane. There could be one per cent who might have a different idea but I am at peace that I have come back. I am happy.”
Many local businessmen, Kashmiri Muslims, had assembled at Mawa’s shop to welcome him and make him feel at home.
His son Sandeep Mawa heads an organisation J&K Reconciliation Front which has started a process of reconciliation between communities in Kashmir.
“We have started this initiative to bring back the migrants so that all people of Kashmir Pandits, Muslims, Sikhs live in harmony.
“They say, charity begins at home. I convinced my father to return to Kashmir despite him being shot at four times and our three building set afire in 1990,” he added.