Nobel Laureate and spiritual head Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit the Central University in Jammu on Sunday, 18 March. The Muslims of Zanskar have appealed to him to prevail upon the area’s Buddhists, who have forced dozens of Muslim families to migrate because of continuous social boycott since the year 2012. The boycott was enforced after a few Buddhist families in the year 2012 converted to Islam in Padam Zanskar.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, a few elders of Padam Zanskar, who are presently in Srinagar said that continuous social boycott by the Buddhist community, against them has been going on and it has shrinked the possibilities of survival for them.
“They have taken away our shops even though we were paying them rent and they have also started fining the taxi drivers from our community if they enter any of the villages with tourists. This has resulted in a lot of problems for us and many of our families have migrated,” said the elders who did not want to be named. They claimed that they met many sitting ministers and also tried to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who promised to talk to the Buddhist community and try to end the social boycott against them. But nothing happened. “No Chief Minister, either Omar Abdullah, or late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed or the incumbent Mehbooba Mufti, came to our rescue. We are now banking on Dalai Lama and we appeal to him to prevail upon the Buddhist community to end this social boycott against us,” they said.
It is in place to mention that after a few families embraced Islam from the Buddhist community, it resulted in a lot of clashes between the two communities. The Buddhists of the area enforced social boycott and it is still continuing in the area.
Zanskar Buddhist Association has so far refused to lift the boycott of Muslims which they enforced on 24 October 2012 after four Buddhist families comprising 22 members converted to Islam. In the historical Padam town, according to the locals, most of the Muslim businessmen have shifted to Kargil and to the Kashmir Valley to look for jobs as the Buddhists refuse to have any business ties with them.
The Muslims of the area in April 2014, through a netizen Tariq Rasool, came up with an online petition addressed to the exiled spiritual leader of the Buddhists, Dalai Lama, seeking him to help end the social boycott of Muslims in Zanskar, but there was no response. Now as the Dalai Lama is coming to Jammu and Kashmir, the Muslims have issued a fresh appeal to him to intervene.