‘Special efforts will be made for KPs’ dignified return’

Special efforts will be made for KPs' dignified returnNEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi Government has flagged the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley with “dignity, security and assured livelihood,” an issue on which it will lay special emphasis during its tenure.

Perhaps finding a mention in President Pranab Mukherjee’s joint address to the Parliament for the first time, it was welcomed by Kashmiri Pandit organizations which have been fighting for the lakhs of people from the community who fled the Valley in 1990 due to ethnic cleansing during militancy.

“Special efforts will be made to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits return to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood,” the President said while outlining the agenda of Modi government for the next five years.

The BJP had mentioned return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley in its manifesto.

According to official data, 24,202 families migrated after militancy raised its ugly head in the Valley in 1990. A total number of 38,119 families are registered with the Jammu and Kashmir Revenue and Relief Ministry till now.

The Kashmiri Pandit organization, however, put the number of total displaced people anywhere between six to seven lakh now.

Kashmiri Pandit organizations welcomed the move of the Government and said it was for the first time that the plight of the displaced community had been flagged by the Central Government as its priority.

General Secretary of All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) Romesh Raina while welcoming the step said finally the serious issue of displacement of Kashmiri Pandits has got its rightful place in the mainstream politics of the country.

“Our request to the Government would be that while framing the blue print for the return and rehabilitation of the community, they should take the aspirations and needs of the displaced into the consideration and must ensure the political rehabilitation of the people through Constitutional mechanism lest its not refouled again,” he said.
“We appreciate the statement of the Government to ensure Kashmiri Pandits return to the land of their ancestors with dignity,” Raina added.

Terming this as a “most important” statement, General Secretary Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch Manoj Bhan expressed hope that the Government will consult the community on various aspects at the time of framing up the return policy.

Social activist Ajay Bharti welcomed the decision of the Government as he said the Kashmiri Pandit community is happy that the issue has been brought as a “priority” by the new government at the centre.

“We are confident that steps will be taken in this direction so that we can go back to the land of our ancestors.

The community is really upbeat that somebody has talked about it now,” Bharti said.

Jammu-based Kashmiri Sabha Ambphalla’s vice president Ashok Baru said he expected that the government talks to the community members before taking decisions in this regard.

“Successive governments ignored our problems. We welcome the decision and the way forward is long and this is not a small thing but we are hopeful,” Baru said.

Another prominent figure of the community, Surender Ambardar said there has to be a roadmap, module and time frame for implementing the welcome measures that the Central Government plans to do.

“There should be a threadbare discussion on the issue and prior to this we need to create a conducive environment in the Kashmir Valley for the return of the community members,” Jammu-based Ambardar, also the convener of the Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist Movement said.

He said the community thanks the Government for taking the issue seriously.–PTI

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