Pandits Want to Discuss Rehab Package with Government

Published: 10th June 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2014 12:42 AM   |  A+A-


SRI NAGAR: Amid reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may announce a special package for the return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits to  Kashmir Valley, Kashmiri Pandit (KP) groups on Monday urged the Centre to consult the community’s representatives and seek their suggestions before coming out with any rehabilitation package.

“The Centre should not take hasty decisions on the return of migrant KPs to the Valley. The government must create a cordial atmosphere in the Valley. It should talk to the representatives of KPs, mainstream groups, separatists, civil society members and the majority community (Muslims) and seek their suggestions for a smooth and dignified return of migrant KPs to the Valley,” said Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS) president Sanjay Tickoo.

The exodus of Pandits from the Valley began  after militancy erupted in the Valley in 1989. According to government figures, 24,202 KP families had migrated from the Valley and 219 Pandits were killed in Kashmir from 1989-2004.  The migrant KPs are living in Jammu and other parts of the country.

Tickoo said the political agenda behind Modi Government’s “package for Pandits” could well backfire.

“The ground situation in the Valley should be made conducive for their return. The militant activities are taking place regularly in the Valley and how is it going to instil confidence among the migrant KPs?” he said, adding the Pandits should not be put up in concentration-type camps because it will increase the animosity between the different communities.

Disapproving of the hype about the return of migrant KPs, Tickoo said, “There should be no media hype. In 1997, then J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had chalked out a plan for the return of KPs to the Valley. 15 days  after the plan got media hype, seven Pandits were killed during the night of March 21-22, 1997 at Sangrampora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.”

Ashwani Chrangoo, president of KP group ‘Panun Kashmir’,  said conditions in the Valley are not conducive for the return of migrant KPs. ‘Panun Kashmir’ is known for its radical views. It has also demanded a homeland for Pandits in the Valley. “Lot of packages (at least four) have been announced in the past by the previous governments at the Centre. Ours is not a money-related issue. It is a geo-political issue,” he said.

According to Ashwani, the two mainstream parties in the Valley-- the NC and the PDP-- and the separatist groups have been saying that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved while, “our point of view is that the Kashmir issue has already been settled and the region is now part of India”.


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