The panchayat elections in Wusan, a quaint village in North Kashmir saw a Kashmiri Pundit, Asha winning in a constituency that has 98% Muslim voters. This is the first time in the last 33 years that a pundit woman has been elected to the panchayat in the valley. Asha comments, “Muslims supported me. My Muslim contender lost. A Pandit woman has won."
With the thumping victory, Asha has set a record of sorts and caused a setback to the separatist ideologies that is poisoning the Kashmir populace. Asha is part of a family who chose to stay back following the targeting of Hindus by extremist elements. Most of the Pundit families in the region moved to other parts fearing their lives and properties.
Asha expressing hope and confidence to all Pundits said, “All Pandits should come back. First, I am asking my neighbours to return. I have shown you how well our Muslim brethren are treating us. Look at what they have done for me. My opponent was their Muslim sister.''
Rekindling hope of a new union between the Hindi Pundits and the dominant Muslim population, Asha"s victory has acted like a balm over wounds that have been festering over the years. In a larger context, the victory has acted like a slap on the face for separatists and those who subscribe to the ideology that Kashmiris are not happy to be a part of India, a thought injected and nurtured by our not-so-friendly neighbours.