Rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits: No land, MHA plan to set up townships stuck

The BJP-PDP alliance had mentioned rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in their common minimum programme.

Written by Sagnik Chowdhury | New Delhi | Published:February 4, 2016 12:45 am
 Kashmiri pandit, Rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits, Union home ministry, mufti, BJP, PDP
The Centre has written to the state government to provide land for the townships.

The Union Home Ministry’s plan to set up “composite townships” for displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants in the Valley appears to have made little headway after it was announced in April last year. Sources said the plan is yet to be approved by the Union cabinet.

According to sources, while the Centre had written to the state government, asking it to provide land for the townships, there has been no movement so far.

“The modalities are yet to be worked out. Cabinet approval is required for the composite townships. However, the cabinet’s clearance will be sought only after land is identified and set aside in the Valley,” said a government source.

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On April 7 last year, when late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed met central leaders in the Capital, a Home Ministry release had stated, “The Union Home Minister asked the chief minister of J&K to provide land in the state for composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits. The chief minister assured the Union Home Minister that the state government will acquire and provide land at the earliest for composite townships in the Valley.”

The government’s move sparked a controversy as several parties and separatists objected. The National Conference said it would be dangerous for the integrity of the state and the country, while separatist leader Yasin Malik said a separate colony on the basis of religion would only build walls of hate, like in Israel.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had initially written a letter to the previous Omar Abdullah government, which was followed by another communication to Governor N N Vohra, asking for identification of land for such migrants.

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 BJP-PDP alliance had mentioned rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in their common minimum programme.

Sources said the land is yet to be allotted for 6,000 transit accommodations in Kashmir announced for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.

The Centre had written to the state government thrice, with the last reminder being sent in the first week of January, sources said.
Close on the heels of PM Narendra Modi’s announcement of a Rs 80,000 crore package for Jammu and Kashmir, the Union cabinet in November 2015 cleared a proposal to provide 3,000 state government jobs and 6,000 transit accommodations in Kashmir for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

These 3,000 state government jobs are in addition to a package of 3,000 government jobs announced in 2008. Jobs have been provided under the 2008 package for 1,553 Kashmiri Pandits.