Published on: May 2, 2019
Written By: Salim Pandit
SRINAGAR: A 74-year-old Roshan Lal Mawa, who survived bullet wounds when he was attacked in his shop in October 1990, reopened his wholesale provision store at Gada Kocha in Zaina Kadal in Srinagardowntown on Wednesday, almost three decades after he migrated from here after the attack.
“A pistol-borne young boy pumped four bullets into me. A bullet hit my head too. The attack happened at this very shop in Gada Kocha. My family took me to Delhi for treatment and we settled in Delhi and set up a wholesale dry fruits business at Khari Baoli in old Delhi,” recalls Roshan Lal Mawa, adding he was well-settled in Delhi but had chosen to come back.
Roshan Lal said his store, in the name of Nand Lal Maharaj
Kishan, was doing well before the 1990s outbreak of militancy in J&K. Gada
Kocha a business hub in Srinagar, “our shop was known as the wholesale store”.
“I’ve forgotten my past and am here to reopen my shop with tremendous love for my native place. Muslim shopkeepers around my shop not only welcomed me with open arms but even performed ‘dastarbandi’, and tied a pagdi. My son Sandeep was equally honoured by the shopkeepers here today,” a joyous Roshan Lal said.
Sandeep is among Mawa’s two sons and a daughter. One son an engineer in Bengaluru, Sandeep runs an NGO, J&K Reconciliation Front, a secular front which hopes to return the Pandits home. Sandeep said, “I requested my father Roshan Lal Mawa to return, and restart his business in . Because charity begins at home, I started it from my home. I’m trying to bring back 100 more Pandit families....”
Mukhtar Ahmad, a shopkeeper in Gada Kocha said: “We’re delighted the Mawa family has returned to their business here. We appeal to Kashmiri Pandit traders to return and re-start their businesses here.”
Roshan Lal said he appealed to Pandits to return to the Valley “as there is no fear here”. Sandeep Mawa spoke of his efforts: “In 2016, I tried to get 50 such families back but that did not happen after the killing of Burhan Wani. My efforts have always been to resettle migrant Kashmiri Pandits in their homes here but some bad elements are trying to scuttle my efforts. My father’s return will encourage others to follow the path, which goes to their homes in Kashmir.”