Kashmiri Pandits Turn Down PM's Relief and Rehab Package
NEW DELHI: Kashmiri Pandits have rejected the Prime Minister’s Return and Rehabilitation Package, saying that the community doesn’t want to become a trial tool for the State. A group of Kashmiri Pandits was invited to hold talks with MoS Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary and MoS PMO Jitendra Singh at North Block on Wednesday.
This was the first such meeting at the ministerial level with Kashmiri Pandit organisations, who have been demanding fair treatment and proper rehabilitation since the NDA government came to power. Anoop Kaul, Chairman of Sampoorn Kashmir Sangathan, said that 1,600 persons who have accepted jobs in the Valley under the rehabilitation package are living in hell.
“The representatives of Kashmiri Pandits have informed both the Union Ministers that accommodation provided to them is unacceptable. Similarly over-age youths who are unemployed should be adequately compensated by the government as they lost not only home but a future when militancy forced the exodus when they were just 8-10 years old. We rejected the PM’s package and requested the Ministers and Home Ministry Officials to consider our demands,” he said.
At present, the government provides such youth `2500 a month which the organisations said is inadequate. Instead, they have asked the Home Ministry for soft loans so that unemployed youths could start businesses or open shops. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that honourable rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was the most important task for the government.
“Both the Union Ministers have assured us that they will look into our demands and a decision will be taken soon,” Kaul further added.
Pandit groups have asked the NDA government to constitute a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate and reveal the past wrongdoing of a government on the lines of similar commission in South Africa. The groups have also told the Home Ministry that over 100 temples have been encroached upon and since the BJP is ruling partner in the state, it must constitute a ‘State Temple Prabandhak Committee’ with the Governor as its chairman to ensure that their religious shrines are safe.