Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Global Connections

Statelessness and Displaced Kashmiri Pandits

Published 2020-05-14


This paper seeks to develop an understanding of the present conditions of Kashmiri Pandits throughout Kashmir and India and articulate potential paths to alleviate those conditions. The Pandits are often viewed as another part of the issue of Kashmiri Independence, which is very contentious in modern Kashmiri, Indian, and Pakistani politics. This conflict is often viewed as an extension of the British Partition of India. This paper traces the history of Pandits throughout the partition and in the decades following. I argue that the Pandits experience a form of statelessness in India both because their acceptance of Indian citizenship is tenuous and because their status in India is close to that of second class citizens. I suggest that any attempts to resolve this issue must be centered around both resolving the conflict over Kashmiri Independence and formalizing the legal status of Pandits within India. Specifically, Current government stances and policies treat Pandit displacement as a short term, voluntary relocation. The Indian government must recognize their displacement as one that is both involuntary and indefinite.