When 85-year-old Kashmiri Pandit Janki Nath Bhat died on Saturday in the remote Malvan village of south Kashmir, his 80-year-old widow Rani Devi surprised everyone by deciding to stay put in the valley despite being all alone.Rani Devi had a solid reason not to leave the village because local Muslim boys have been treating her like a mother. And when her husband passed away, entire Muslim neighbourhood was present during his last rights.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My daughter wants me to live with her. But my heart doesn’t allow me to leave this village. My daughter is married and I have no son of my own. But these boys have filled the vacuum and took care of us like their own parents”, said Rani Devi.Rani and Janki Nath Bhat were the only family in Malvan village that did not migrate at the onset of militancy in 1990. The only daughter of the couple was married off and has been living in Jammu with her family.For the last few years, Janki Nath was not keeping well and had been bed ridden. In the absence of any close family members, local Muslim neighbours chipped in to help the aged couple.”We have to be answerable to Almighty Allah if we failed in our endeavours to help and take care of this family,” said Sajja Begum, a local Muslim neighbour.Malvan village housed around 16 Pandits and Kashmiri Rajput families before migration in 1990. Of the seven pandit families, Janki Nath Bhat and his wife had decided to stay back despite the militancy and massacres in the neighbourhood.Figures released by Hindu Welfare Society (HWS), an apex body of non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, reveal that there are 671 families of Pandits who did not migrate and continue to reside in different villages and towns across the valley.Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslim, 1,738 Sikhs and five others.

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All alone, 80-year-old Pandit widow to stay put in the Valley