Srinagar, Feb 2: Displaced Kashmiri Pandit and Bollywood actor Rahul Bhat, who is shooting for “Fitoor” in Kashmir, on Monday said return of migrant Kashmir Pandits to the Valley is near impossible and asserted that Kashmir is not a “conflict zone”
“I think return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley is not possible. Many Pandit families want to return but their children are settled outside. It would be difficult for them to give up their jobs and return to the Valley,” Rahul, told reporters during an interaction at Nigeen Club, here.
The actor is himself a displaced Kashmiri Pandit and hails from Vichernag area of Soura in downtown Srinagar.
“Kashmiri Pandits, who have settled in different parts of India and abroad, will never return to Valley due to lack of avenues. I work in Bollywood and am settled in Mumbai. How can I leave business there and settle here,” Rahul said.
Rahul-starrer “Fitoor” is the first Bollywood film to be shoot in the Valley after September floods. Besides Rahul, lead actors in the film are Aditya Roy Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Rekha.
According to official statistics, over 24000 Kashmiri Pandit families migrated from the Valley in 1990. Atleast 38,119 families are registered with J&K Revenue and Relief Ministry.
Terming migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley after eruption of militancy in J&K in 1990 as “dark phase” of Kashmir history, the Bollywood actor said, “We should forget it and move on. We should live in harmony”.
Rahul, who plays a key role in the Abhishek Kapoor-directed film “Fitoor” based on adaptation of Charles Dicken’s “Great Expectations”, said he was overwhelmed by the response and love showered by the people when he visit his ancestral home in Vichernag area of Soura.
“I got very emotional when Muslims hugged and embraced me there,” he said.
Rahul said Kashmir is not a “conflict-zone”.
“The massive presence of Army in the region gives the impression of it being a conflict-zone. Kashmir is a peaceful tourist place now and Army should be withdrawn. In my opinion there is no role for army in the Valley now. The Valley should be turned into a world famous tourist destination,” he said.
Hailing the talent of Kashmiri youth, the actor said, “They have the potential here that needs to be harnessed but they lack infrastructure and opportunities”.
Rahul hailed the support from the locals and administration to the film industry and film crews in the Valley.