Pandit delegation meets J&K Deputy CM

Pandit delegation meets J&K Deputy CM

Pandit delegation meets J&K Deputy CM

A delegation of the displaced members of the Kashmiri Pandit community today met the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to discuss various issues related to the community.

The issue of the honorable and safe return of the community to the Kashmir Valley was discussed during the meeting.

"Various issues discussed in the meeting included honorable return of Kashmiri Pandits in concentrated and compact places with proper security and political empowerment," a BJP spokesman said.

Other issues discussed during the meeting were creation of employment avenues for the community in a time bound.

"Issues like improvement of basic amenities in migrant camps, including potable water supply, electricity, drainage education and health care, were also discussed," he said.

The delegation also raised the issue of Temple and Shrine Bill, special recruitment drive for the community, and revamping of relief organisation with total transparency.

"The Deputy Chief Minister gave a patient hearing while listening to the demands of the deputation and assured them that all their issues would be looked into," he said.

Issues like improving the basic amenities in migrant quarters at Jagti and others places will be taken up on priority.

"Regarding other issues like special recruitment drive, promotion Nirmal Singh assured them to address the issue at an earliest," he said.

Member of Legislative Council Surinder Ambardar was also present on the occasion.

The protesters termed as "inadequate" the rehabilitation package offered to displaced Kashmiri Pandits by the UPA-I Government in 2008.

That package included assistance of Rs 7.5 lakh per family for reconstruction of fully or partially damaged houses, assistance of Rs 2 lakh per family for dilapidated houses, assistance of Rs 7.5 lakh per family for purchase of a house in Group Housing Societies for those who have sold their properties during the turmoil in 1989.

"I will have to spend Rs 12.5 lakh even if I choose to clear only debris from the site where my home stood once. So, the package the previous government offered was inadequate. The present government should consider this issue," Amal Magazine, whose Sringar house was set afire allegedly by militants in 1992, said.

Ashutosh Taploo, whose father Tikalal - a BJP leader - was killed in a militant attack in 1989, alleged that subsequent governments at Centre including the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA Government have ignored concerns of the people who suffered losses during the turmoil.

"No government in the past has even bothered to check where we have been living, in what conditions," he complained. His mother, Sarla, insisted that the government must ensure adequate security measures for Pandits when they return.


The demonstrators also expressed disappointment at the central government for not doing enough for the Pandits after it assumed office. They held placards which read: "Modi Blinks, Hope Sinks". "But this government only can do something for us," another protester, Naveen Thusu, said.

"We don't have any problem in moving to Kashmir provided provisions of Constitution of India are applied there," Shiv Kumar Bhat, general secretary of Visthapit Sangharsh Samiti, said.

Besides, the Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch, Roots in Kashmir and Kashmir Visthapit Sangharsh Samiti, members of All India Kashmir Samaj and other outfits took part in the rally.

At present, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country, who have moved from the Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country after the state was rocked by militancy in 1989.

The protesters claimed over 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were "forced to flee" their homes. "Most of their properties were either destroyed or occupied, and usurped. Over 10,000 KP homes and 400 temples were destroyed by terrorists and Jihadis who relentlessly targeted the community," the protesters claimed in a statement.

Asked about the protest by Kashmiri Pandits over the issue of their re-settlement in the Valley, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju said, "Whenever any delegation comes to the Home Ministry, the Ministry listens to them... When policy programme has not been finalised, I cannot say anything on this."

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