J&K govt formulating policy for return of Pandits

J&K govt formulating policy for return of Pandits

Migrant Kashmiri Pandits after casting their votes at a special polling station for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, during the fifth phase of General Elections 2019, in Jammu (PTI File Photo)

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik Friday said the government is in the process of formulating a policy for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits (KPs).
 
“A policy is being formulated and more details will emerge soon,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre, here, to mark the launch of electric buses in Srinagar.
 
The government is reviving a plan to build secured camps to resettle KPs in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley, a proposal that would almost certainly heighten tensions in the restive region.
 
Recently governor Malik justified the concept of building separate townships for returning Pandits, saying locations for such boroughs had already been identified and work was underway to develop them.
 
“Separate township is not a matter of choice but out of necessity. We have to give them (KPs) a nice place to stay, of their choice,” he said.
 
In 1990 most of the KPs left Kashmir after insurgency broke out. Different accounts give different statistics of the total number of Pandits who fled their homes in the 1990s. While some say around 1,00,000 of them had left the valley, others suggest figures as high as 1,50,000 to 1,90,000.
 
According to official records, as many as 219 Pandits were killed in Kashmir between 1989 and 2008 by militants.
 
Earlier this month moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and a four-member team of KPs decided to constitute a committee which will find ways to facilitate the return of the displaced Pandit community to the Valley.
 
In 2015, immediately after the BJP entered into an alliance with the regional PDP to form a government in the restive state, crisis erupted over a proposed move of the state government to provide 'separate homeland' to migrant KPs. Separatists leaders and militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen had termed the plan to create a separate homeland for Kashmir Pandits as 'agenda of fascist forces in India'.
 
The move was shelved after it threatened to divide Jammu and Kashmir along communal lines with protests erupting in both the regions in favour and against the proposal.