Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed various issues pertaining to the state especially return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley, which is on priority list of the NDA government.
This was Omar’s first meeting with Singh after the latter became the Home Minister. The forthcoming Amarnath Yatra also figured prominently during the meeting and Omar briefed the Home Minister about the arrangements made for smooth conduct of the Yatra which will commence later this month.
The Centre has been actively considering the state’s proposal for return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley in which the Omar government had proposed increasing the amount for construction or repairs of their houses to Rs 20 lakh from existing Rs 7.5 lakh.
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This proposal was sent to the previous UPA government but no decision was taken.
UPA government had announced Rs 7.5 lakh package for each Kashmiri Pandit family for reconstruction or construction of their houses.
Kashmiri Pandits had left the Valley in 1990 with the onset of militancy and the number such migrants in Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country are estimated somewhere between six and seven lakhs.
“I discussed wide-ranging issues with the Home Minister including the policy on return of Kashmiri Pandits, law and order situation, ceasefire violations and AFSPA,” Omar said.
The package for enhancement of monetary assistance was sent by the state government in 2012 but nothing was done about it. “I am glad that the present government is actively considering the proposal with some modifications,” he said, adding “we are supportive of this measure”.
On the Amarnath Yatra, he informed the Home Minister about the infrastructure put in place for any emergency situation resulting from bad weather or any natural calamity.
Asked about the Centre’s decision to promote Hindi language, Omar said, “We have Urdu and English as official languages. So Hindi can’t be forced.”
With the state going to polls later this year, Omar refused to answer questions on whether his party, National Conference, will have an alliance with Congress. “It’s too premature to even ask,” he said.